Veiled Eyes

“Even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart”

2 Corinthians 3:15

Referring to Moses’ experience on Mount Sinai, Paul illustrates how unbelievers cannot comprehend the Bible. They can read the words and know the stories but as through a veil, not seeing with spiritual eyes. This is one of the reasons we cannot argue or debate someone into the kingdom of God. To attempt to do so denies the power of God. Paul writes, “My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). It is not our ability to present the Gospel in a clear way that will speak to the other person’s heart; it is the Holy Spirit applying the truth of the Gospel that we share. Oswald Chambers writes, “Never rely on the clearness of your exposition, but as you give exposition see that you are relying on the Holy Spirit.”

For the religious Jew of Paul’s day the Law was like a ball and chain. The rules and regulations of false religions, including some called “Christian,” keep captive with rules and rituals that give false hope. Paul writes, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). That is, liberty from compliance to a set of rules, regulations and rituals in order to receive eternal life.

Eternal life is a gift in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s Gift (John 3:16, Romans 5:8; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10). We give special attention to this fact at Christmas. If a person is not willing to humble themselves and receive God’s love Gift they deny the Holy Spirit the opportunity to lift the veil from their eyes. They may think they know all there is to know but the veil will keep the reality from them. Paul writes, “It [the Gospel] is veiled to those who are perishing whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). When the veil is lifted by the Holy Spirit we see the reality that had been hidden and is revealed more and more. Paul writes, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Until we receive Jesus Christ we are looking at reality through a darkened veil and not seeing clearly. “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16). Let us pray that many will turn to the Lord and see clearly without the veil of spiritual blindness.

As We Are

“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With the blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.” Psalm 18:25, 26

Psalm 18 was written by King David after he had experienced the Lord in many ways and on many occasions. One who has only heard or learned about God could not write in such a way. He didn’t just know about the Lord, he knew the Lord personally and intimately through revelation and life’s experiences. Many people learn about God but few know Him in life experience.

We tend to see others and God as we ourselves are. The Lord says, “You thought I was altogether like you” (Psalm 50:21). The devious person will see God as shrewd; the legalist will see Him as a dictator; the compassionate person will see God as compassionate and the merciful will see Him as merciful. What we think of the Divine Nature can be seen in the way we relate to others.

The Bible is given to us by God to correct us where we are not thinking correctly on many things but especially in regard to Him. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). As we learn about God from the Scriptures and accept the teaching the Holy Spirit changes us into His likeness. When we read and receive such God-breathed words as, “But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” Titus 3:4-6), we melt in our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to change us. Then we will see God as merciful, loving, gracious and righteous. “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2). We don’t have to wait until heaven to see Jesus as He is. Through believing God’s word and experiencing Jesus Christ in daily living we are being transformed into His likeness (Romans 12:2) and have in our minds a more accurate understanding of His nature.

Our theories about Jesus Christ are tested in our life experiences. When they don’t seem to match we are forced to go back to Scripture. If they do match we rejoice in having a more intimate understanding of Him and fellowship with Him.

An unbelieving world may say that it is blind faith or brain washing but the one who not only knows about God but has also experienced Him personally through Jesus Christ will not be moved by such folly (Psalm 14:1).

We will tend to see God and other people as we are ourselves. Only through God’s word can we discover the truth about Him and ourselves and then He will ensure we go through the appropriate tests and trials to conform us to His likeness. The experiences of life will either confirm we are correct or drive us back to His word for correction. When it appears that God is not meeting our expectations it may be because we have a wrong view of Him and therefore wrong expectations.

Challenge or Change

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Perhaps one of the more frequent comments regarding preaching, Biblical teaching (in any of its media) is that one has been challenged by it. It may be surprising for many of us to discover that the word “challenge” does not appear in the Bible. Even the concept does not appear in regard to the effect the Word of God will have on a person – either believer or non-believer.

Sometimes it seems that we speak as though being challenged is the intended end of any biblical teaching.  The intent of the Word of God is to convict us not challenge us. When we accept that it is the Holy Spirit convicting us that there is an aspect of our lives contrary to the Divine Nature then we can move on to humble repentance. Following repentance there will be transformation. The word “transform” comes from the same word from which we get metamorphosis. This word describes the process that a caterpillar experiences when becoming a butterfly.

It would be profitable for each of us to spend some time regularly asking ourselves whether we are being transformed. “Am I more Christlike than I was one year ago?” If we haven’t changed we will be unable to answer such a question and we should take a serious look as to the reason why not. Paul writes that if we would be transformed it is the mind that must be the recipient of correct input and the correct input is God’s Word (Romans 12:2).

What did Paul mean in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (quoted above) when he wrote “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory?” As we look into the “mirror” of God’s Word we will be convicted (never challenged) so that we might repent and be transformed from glory to glory. The transformation is from living as a fallen person to expressing the Divine Nature in our physical bodies (Romans 12:1). The Christian being constantly transformed will reveal the glory of God more and more completely. The glory of God is His own Divine Nature.

If anyone says it cannot be done then that one is, at best, a defeated Christian. Jesus lived a God glorifying life in His body and the risen Jesus can do the same in our bodies if we will let Him do so by fulfilling the conditions He gives us in the Bible.

The reason we say that a sermon or some Biblical teaching has challenged us is because we do not want to face up to the fact that the Holy Spirit has convicted us of the need to make some change in our lives. If it is only a challenge we can convince ourselves that it is a good idea but we do not need to respond. If we acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit convicting us then we know we cannot throw away the teaching we have heard or read without serious consequence.