Monday, May 11, 2009

Open-Faced Christians

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

         Ten Rules for Holy Living…Five Steps to Victory Over Sin…The Formula For the Abundant Life…How to Be the Christian You Want to Be. On and on it goes. Check your local bookstore, Christian or otherwise, for even more examples (if you care to). Yet here, the Apostle Paul says the only action that precipitates change is…beholding. Who knew? We should have. Did God lay down a list of steps and rules and formulas to personal salvation? He did not. So let’s not complicate sanctification more than salvation, shall we? If we are to believe God’s Word, the “process” of change, “from glory to glory,” takes place as we gaze upon the glory of God. This is what imprints the image of God upon our lives.

         Theologian and Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer, wrote a book entitled, How Then Shall We Live? But in light of this verse, I would rather ask, “How then shall we gaze?” And the only fine point we are given is this: Our manner of beholding should be characterized as “open face.” “What does that mean?” you may ask. Before running to commentaries, lexicons, Dr. So-and-So, or (Heaven forbid) multiple translations, let’s try using our God-given, feminine intuition. (I’m not kidding). What’s an open-faced sandwich? “That’s easy,” you answer, “It’s a sandwich that doesn’t have a top.” Right. In other words, we could say it’s one that isn’t covering up what’s inside.

         Call me simple, if you will, but that’s exactly what I think the apostle is talking about. When you and I come to God, gazing upon Him and His Word, there must not be anything covering up what’s on the inside. The wise man, in Proverbs 28:13, lets us know that trying to cover sin is not only futile, but it holds back the mercy of God. You and I should be willing to say to God, as David did, “See if there be any wicked way in me” (Psl.139:24). Being an introvert may work with other people, but it won’t work with God. In His case, we must never “put a lid on it.”

                          The first prerequisite to holiness is honesty.

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