There is a mysterious verse in 1John.
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
The topic is "What we will be has not yet appeared." The conclusion is "We shall be like Him." But the reason given is interesting. "Because we shall see Him as He is." In short, then, "What we shall be is like Him because we shall see Him as He is." That's a little strange. How will seeing Him as He is make us like Him?
I think it goes back to another passage.
In 2Corinthians Paul is talking about the dichotomy of "the ministry of death" which is the Law of the Old Testament versus the "ministry of righteousness" which is the Gospel (2 Corinthians 3:9). Paul says the Gospel was present in the Law, but the glory of God in the Gospel was veiled, just like Moses veiled his face (2 Corinthians 3:10-13). Paul says that in Moses's day "their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:14). We, therefore, are under a different principle. "When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:16). Then we read this:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
There it is again. Paul indicates, as John did, that "beholding the glory of the Lord" transforms us. It doesn't just change us arbitrarily. It transforms us "into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Beholding the glory of the Lord changes us into His image.
Oh, now, wait a minute. I think I've seen this elsewhere.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28-29)
There is it again. The aim ("His purpose") is that "those who love God" would "be conformed to the image of His Son."
It appears, then, that if we are to cooperate with God's primary goal of transforming us into the image of His Son, our primary task would be to behold His glory. And since His glory is His primary concern, it ought to be ours. We ought to be peering "through a mirror dimly" (1 Corinthians 13:12) on a constant basis to discover and enjoy His glory and be transformed by it. We ought to be pursuing the experience of His glory in creation and in His Word at all times so that "we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." This task will be complete "when He appears." I guess we have our marching orders.
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