First Baptist Church Charleston
The Law of Spiritual Transformation 2 Corinthians 3:18
March 13, 2022

The Law of Spiritual Transformation 2 Corinthians 3:18

March 13, 2022

Exodus 34:29-35

29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded. 35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY. 18 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.

Paul is contrasting the experiences of Moses with that of a New Testament Christian:

            As Moses looked upon the Law God chiseled upon the mountain, Moses saw God.

            As Christians, as we learn to look upon Jesus, we too will see God.

Moses came down from the mountain and his face was so radiant, he had to cover it.

            But Moses’s change was only temporary. The Christian’s change is permanent.

            Moses’s glow was only SKIN DEEP. The Christian’s glow is SOUL DEEP.

2 Corinthians 3:18 reveals to us THE LAW OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION:

            18 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.

What is the law that is revealed in this verse?

                        “WHAT YOU BEHOLD, YOU WILL BECOME.”

What you spend the hours of your life beholding, will BE what you will BECOME.

Who you spend your life seeking, will determine who you will become.

If I asked you to tell me what is the single true purpose of God’s plan of Salvation:

            Would you say it is to provide an escape from the eternal horrors of Hell?

            Would you say it is to provide an escape to the eternal heavens to be with God?

            Would you say it is to make us become more and more like Jesus?

The Christian lifestyle is to be a continuous transformation to the lifestyle of Jesus.

There are THREE PROGRESSIVE STAGES of a Christian’s SPIRITUAL GROWTH:

            The FIRST stage is CONTEMPLATION.

            The SECOND stage is TRANSFORMATION.

            The THIRD STAGE IS MANIFESTATION.

You cannot skip stage 1. You won’t be successful at stage 2 and you’ll never see stage 3.

You cannot do stage 1 and skip stage 2 and expect to succeed at stage 3.

You cannot skip stage 1 and stage 2 and go straight to stage 3.

The Law of Spiritual Transformation refuses to allow shortcuts or exceptions.

You can only become more like Jesus if you contemplate Him and let Him transform you gradually and then allow Him to manifest Himself thru you.

Let’s go deeper into these 3 stages.

THE FIRST STAGE OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL GROWTH MUST BE ONE OF CONTEMPLATION.

            > To contemplate upon something or someone is not a one-time action.

            > It means: to consider thoroughly; to mediate upon constantly.

            > Paul is saying we must spend our lives looking to Jesus for guidance,

                        Inspiration, wisdom, strength, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

            > The more time Moses was around God, he reflected more of God’s glory than his.

                        i.e., Moses was becoming more like God and less like Moses.

            > The less time Moses spent on God’s Mountain; the glory of God faded from him.

                        i.e., Moses became more like Moses and less like God.

            > Paul was teaching that we have “a greater hope;” we are not like Moses.

                        i.e., Christians have a better Covenant- a permanent covenant.

                                    > we can be in God’s presence 24/7.

                                    > we can be in God’s presence anywhere.

                                    > we have the Holy Spirit of God present in our soul 24/7.

            > Hebrews 12:1-2

                        Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before             us, 2 LOOKING UNTO JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,  and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

            > There are 3 things I want to share with you about contemplating on Jesus:

                        > There must be a conscious looking.

                                    > a deliberate looking.

                        > There must be a concentrated looking.

                                    > a disciplined looking.

                        > There must be a clear looking.

                                    > a detached looking.

THE SECOND STAGE MUST BE ONE OF JESUS TRANSFORMING US, NOT US TRYING IT.

            > The word here in 3:18 for “being transformed” means “metamorphose”.

                        > a complete change of character, purpose or form.

            > The “transformation” of Jesus took place shortly before He went to Jerusalem.

                        > The inner invisible glory of Jesus had been hidden by a veil of flesh.

                        > But just for a short time, the veil was removed to reveal to Peter, James  and John the glory that Jesus would soon display openly.

            > What Paul was saying then and is saying now:

                        > Jesus’ transformation was the inner nature being revealed to the outer eye.

                        > There is to be a continuous inward transformation in the life of all Christians taking place day-                                  by-day until the Glory of Jesus Christ  cannot help but burst forth from the veil of our                                                      humanness and be  shown to lost people.

            > We cannot put Jesus’ life on a pedestal and just imitate His outward conduct.

            > We must allow Jesus to impart His inner character to bring out outward conduct.

            > A true salvation experience brings about a permanent change in the Christian.

                        > Moses’ outward glory eventually faded, that’s why he kept the veil on.

                        > The New Testament Christian possesses a glory that will not fade away!

            > The Christian lifestyle is a lifetime occupation of being perfected and matured.

                        > There are no short cuts and there is no retirement age while living here.

                        > God gave the Israelites the Promised Land but only one city at a time.

            > We can’t be physically born one day and mature into an adult the next day.

                        It is the same for the newborn Christian. It is a lifetime of “lifestyle”. 

            > Transforming “you” into a better Christian is God’s responsibility, not yours!

                        > Most failures in the Christian life are caused by misplaced responsibility.

                                    Examples: believing in salvation by works; falling from grace;

                                                        Trying to fight our own battles; holding on to the past.

                        > Trying to live the Christian life instead of letting Christ live His life thru us.

                        > 3:17 tells us there is “liberty (freedom).”                         

THE THIRD STAGE OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL GROWTH MUST BE ONE OF MANIFESTATION. 

I said at the first that these 3 stages of the Christian spiritual growth are progressive.

            Contemplation leads to transformation that leads to manifestation.

What exactly do I mean by “manifestation”?

            We were created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-27)

            Sin resulted in The Fall of Man and thus marred that original image and likeness.

            Jesus came to Earth as the image (the manifestation) of invisible God.

            Jesus came to provide The Way to have the original imagine and likeness restored.

            We are to manifest(reflect) the image of Christ thru the power of the Holy Spirit.

            But upon being saved, we cannot manifest (reflect) all of Jesus. We must grow.

Jesus, thru the Person of the Holy Spirit, can only slowly manifest Himself to us.

            Jesus will manifest more and more of Himself to us, depending on our hunger.

                        If we are not hungry for Jesus, He will allow the Holy Spirit to be grieved.

                        The more the Holy Spirit grieves over our lack of hunger, the more we hurt.

                        The more we hunger for Jesus, the more we will be filled with the Spirit.

            As our spiritual growth gets stronger, we manifest Jesus more and more to others.               

Our lifestyle (everything about us) reflects (our manifestation of Jesus Christ):

            > Just how MUCH and just how LITTLE we have been CONTEMPLATING on Jesus.

            > Just how MUCH and just how LITTLE we have allowed Jesus to TRANSFORM us.

God forms; Satan deforms; Jesus transforms; WE INFORM.

You cannot skip stage 1. You won’t be successful at stage 2 and you’ll never see stage 3.

You cannot do stage 1 and skip stage 2 and expect to succeed at stage 3.

You cannot skip stage 1 and stage 2 and go straight to stage 3.

The Law of Spiritual Transformation refuses to allow shortcuts or exceptions.

You can only become more like Jesus:

            if you contemplate on Him;

            and let Him transform you gradually;

            and then allow Him to manifest Himself thru you.

There is freedom in this spiritual law. Nothing else will bring about Spiritual Freedom.

            WILL YOU ALLOW JESU TO REMOVE THE VEIL FROM YOUR FACE TODAY?        

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