Gloriosity is not yet an official word, but this passage suggests that it should be. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV) Paul says that we all (you and I) are being transformed into God’s glorious image. And that glory is “ever-increasing”.
Two Steps Forward…
From what I can tell this doesn’t happen instantly. It’s kind of a “one step forward, two steps back” process sometimes. Looking at my life so far, I’d have to say that I haven’t quite been transformed into the Lord’s image even though I have attempted to follow Jesus for 50 years or so. I’ve made huge mistakes and I’ve sometimes wandered very far away from God. Apparently being a follower of Jesus does not necessarily relate to being perfect, mature, or well-behaved…
At least that’s been my experience. There are a lot of stops and starts in the transformation process, not to mention some pretty big backward steps along the way. From what I’ve observed, that is true for all of us. Does that mean gloriosity is not happening as Paul says, or that it’s different than we might expect? Perhaps this verse not only suggests what is possible but also offers some clues about how it happens.
First, we are able to contemplate the Lord’s glory (I like to call it His gloriosity) with unveiled faces. This reference hearkens back to Moses, who asked the Lord for the assurance of His presence as he tried to lead the children of Israel (who certainly had their share of stops and starts!). He asked, “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:16-17)
The Lord told Moses that no one could see His face and live, but that he would allow Moses a glimpse of His back after He had passed by. Afterwards Moses’ face was shining so brightly that he had to wear a veil! The good news was, he was completely transformed by being close to God. The bad news was, he was intimidating and a little creepy looking, so he used the veil to cover up. In his case the veil hid his gloriosity, which is kinda what veils were for in the Bible: to hide things. Veils were used for modesty or subterfuge, and there was even a huge veil within the temple that acted to set the Holy of Holies apart and make it sacrosanct. But when Christ died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn, indicating that all believers now had access to God’s Holy place.
Transaction = Transformation
A couple of things here: Transformation into the Lord’s image doesn’t just magically happen. It’s transactional. The closer you get to Him, the more like him you’ll become.
Second, we have access to God’s glory with unveiled faces. His holiness is no longer contained in an inner chamber, but it’s available to all of us through His word, prayer, worship, proximity…
What if we went to Ft. Knox, and I told you that the vault doors would be opened so that you could transform yourself into someone fabulously rich, just by going in whenever you wanted to fill your pockets with cash? Would you go?
Well, that’s the torn veil: God’s glory and Holiness became accessible to us all the time, and we can go to Him anytime to be filled. Yet we keep our distance, worshipping the Lord tentatively or indirectly, living in the everyday world even though we are residents of the eternal one. This verse made me think, because I sure don’t feel my gloriosity most of the time… I just feel like a regular person.
Regular or Unfettered?
But it made me realize that I am a regular person who is sealed with God’s Spirit and who has access to God’s word, so hopefully my lack of current gloriosity (yes I made that up and yes it is now a word) will not keep me from being transformed with ever-increasing glory into HIS image. I’m unfettered by a veil so I can see God the way He really is. That’s God’s plan for us: Be intimate with Him. Contemplate Him. Be transformed. If you spend more time honestly before the Father, I think you’ll be surprised by how much gloriosity you can be given through His Spirit.
Transformed by Glory
Moses had to veil himself because he saw God’s glory.
Paul says in Corinthians there’s much more to this story:
Even though we fall and fail, and even though we’re spiritually pale,
He says God’s glory can prevail and that we can remove the veil, To see the Lord, and satisfy much more than curiosity:
Beholding God so we can be just like His gloriosity!
But listen to Paul: don’t just accept these humble words of mine:
Behold Him for yourself. Receive his Glory! And go SHINE!
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For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread