The Bible tells us that God created us in His own image. But that image was marred when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. Yet God hasn’t changed His purpose. For you—for all of us—His purpose has been and always will be to transform us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is so pleased with His Son that He wants an entire race of people to be just like Him! The Gospel of Grace is about making people into His image.
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of ______ ______.” Romans 8:29
We are destined to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is the Father’s desire to make us like His Son.
The Scripture says that one day “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) But God doesn’t just wait until you arrive in Heaven to start making you like the Lord Jesus Christ! He wants to begin today.
THE FINEST SCALPEL—THE WORD OF GOD
One of the most important “makeover” tools the Lord uses is His Word. As you read, study, and meditate on the Word of God, He will show you two important truths:
(1) what you are by nature
(2) what you ought to be, and can be, by grace.
In this “Digging Deeper” study, two passages will help us see what God would like to do in our lives through His Word. Look first at James1:22.
“But be ye ___________ of the Word, and not __________ only, deceiving your own selves.”
Verse 22 has been preached many times. But the next 3 verses are the key to obeying verse 22:
23”For if any be a ____________ of the Word, and not a __________, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (mirror): 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (theWord of God), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
James describes two imaginary people looking into the mirror of God’s Word. One takes a casual glance, the other a concentrated gaze. The first doesn’t look long enough to correct anything the mirror might reveal to him. The other “continues” his gaze, and allows the Word to begin the work God wants to perform.
Now turn to 2 Corinthians 3:18 and look at this companion verse:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glassthe glory of the Lord, are (key word here)________________ into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Have you ever wondered what this verse really means? Here again we have believers looking into a glass (mirror). Paul says we behold the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the glass (the Word of God), then are being changed “from ______________ to ______________
A CLOSER LOOK AT “FROM GLORY TO GLORY”
When you first get saved, that’s one level of glory—you might say an “entry level.” But as you grow in the Lord, you learn of other things, for example, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and that He indwells every believer. That’s more glorious. You continue to mature in the Lord and learn that you must die to self, another step as God leads you “from glory to glory.” He does this through your time spent in that concentrated look into His Word. As we stay in His Word, we are being changed “from glory to glory.”
You may be asking, “Now, wait a minute. If the Bible is a mirror, when I look in the Bible, who do I see? Me or Jesus?”
You’re going to see both.
When you got saved, you became a part of Jesus, so when you look in the Bible, not only will you see what you are by nature, but you’ll also see what you are by grace. You look and say, “That’s not me. That’s Jesus.” And He says, “That’s right. You are crucified with Christ. You are risen with Christ. Christ is in you, and you are in Christ.” That’s the reason why we’re called Christians—a Christian is someone like Jesus.
When you look into the mirror of His Word, you should see the image of Jesus reflected. It’s like a double mirror. One way you see yourself—your natural face and your spiritual face. You look another way and see the Lord Jesus Christ. According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, God’s plan for you is an Extreme Makeover—to make you more like Jesus.
Confession and cleansing
If you look in a mirror and see a dirty face you say, “Oh, I need to clean that face.”
“Wherewithal shall a young man ________________ his way? By taking heed thereto to ________ __________.” (Psalm 119:9)
When the Word reveals a problem, whatever it is—take heed to it. Don’t just read it and forget it. If you do, you’re deceiving yourself. A self-deceived person is truly deceived.
A CLOSER LOOK AT “CLEANSE HIS WAY”
The word “way” in this verse is a word that actually means a rut. Sin has a way of putting a muddy rut, a groove, in your character.
Jesus said in John 15:3: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The word “clean” used here is the word we get catharsis from. The Word of God doesn’t just cleanse us outwardly. There’s a catharsis inwardly as it flows through us, the cleansing tides of Calvary and the breezes of the Holy Spirit blowing through our lives.
When you see yourself, it leads to confession and cleansing.
When you see Jesus Christ, it leads to consecration and change.
TRANSFORMED INTO HIS LIKENESS
As you keep looking into the Word, you become like what you look at. Look again at 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“But we all with open face beholding, as in a glass the glory of the Lord, arechanged…”
Changed here is the same word translated transfigured in Matthew 17:1-2, which described Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Look at what happened.
1Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John His brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2And was _____________ before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.
What was really happening at the Transfiguration? Many have thought when Jesus’ face shone as the sun and His clothing radiated with light, that God the Father just opened a little crack in heaven and shined a beam of light down upon Jesus.
But that’s not what the verse says. Light did not shine down upon Him. Instead, for a moment in time, the veil which hid His radiant glory was pulled back, and the Shekinah glory resident within Him— the glory as of the only begotten of the Father— was revealed for the first time to human eyes.
The word transfigured is the word we get metamorphosis from. Every school child has had to study metamorphosis. It’s what happens when a caterpillar goes into a cocoon and emerges as a glorious butterfly. It goes through a metamorphosis—a change of form. Metamorphosis is not an outward change; it is a change from the inside.
This is critical to understanding what was revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration and how we are changed to reflect the glory of God’s Son.
The butterfly is already incipiently in that caterpillar before he enters the cocoon. When he comes out, what had been in him from the beginning is now revealed. It just comes to the surface. When Jesus was transfigured, the Bible says His face was like the sun; His clothes, white; Shekinah glory shone about Him.
This glory had been in the Lord Jesus all the time. It was glory that shone out from Him. Metamorphosis is simply when the inner nature comes to the surface. The inner nature of Jesus was glory, but it had been veiled by His flesh. In this metamorphosis on the Mount of Transfiguration, they saw His inner glory.
That’s exactly the same word in 2 Corinthians 3:18. We are “changed (transfigured-metamorphosed) from glory to glory.” As you look into the Word of God and begin to obey it, a change begins to take place inside you. What is the inner nature of a Christian? It’s Jesus! He is in you. He is your inner nature. As you look into the Bible and see Jesus, that inner nature of Jesus in you responds to what you see in the Bible, and you’re changed from glory to glory. The more you look in the Word of God, the more you go through a metamorphosis: what’s on the inside comes to the surface.
Romans chapter 12:1 says the same thing:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice….and be not conformed to this world, but be _______________________ (same word, metamorphosed) by the renewing of your mind.”
How do you renew your mind? By looking into the Word of God. As you look, you see the Lord Jesus, and there is a sympathetic vibration between the Christ in the Word and the Christ in your heart. You see your sin and unworthiness, as James says, and you confess that. You don’t forget what you are. You say, “God, I’m sorry for that.” And you get cleansed and forgiven.
Then you go back to the Word of God. Now you see the Lord Jesus. You contemplate Jesus, you love Jesus, and the Bible says you are changed into the same image as you look into the mirror of God’s ____________. You never stop growing as you see Jesus reflected there.
IN THE RECOVERY ROOM
Remember the first time you really “saw” the Lord Jesus? When you did, you said, “Compared to Him, I’m nothing.” But I want you to know that you’re going to be like Him.
The psalmist said, “I shall be satisfied when I awaken _____ _______ _____________________.” (Psalm 17:15)
As you’re seeing Jesus in the Word of God, praising Him, worshipping Him, looking at Him, something is happening within you—that inner nature, the nature of Jesus, is coming to the surface.
Our “Extreme Makeover” is never completely done here on this earth. But we know that one day we will awaken in His likeness.
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