of the Christian Journey
Most of us
appreciate the value of setting goals.
Successful corporations give
credit to setting high goals and motivating their employers to
focus on achieving them.
People who are successful in
their vocations are driven to acquire the fullest knowledge
possible about their occupation and continually pursue all new
information to stay at the peak of their qualifications.
Those who desire to have good
relations with family, friends, co-workers, social acquaintances
and yes, fellow Christians are wise to make it a goal to learn
conversation and behavior that nourishes good relationships.
Likewise, those who have embarked
on the Christian journey by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior are
wise to identify the ultimate goal of the journey and focus on
learning and pursuing the attitudes and actions that help them
reach that goal.
Ultimate Goal of the Christian Journey is to be Shaped into the
Likeness of Jesus Christ.
apostle Paul gives strong confirmation in Romans, chapter 8, of
God’s ultimate goal:
“For whom He foreknew, He
also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He
might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29.
Christians who have been studying
the Bible are probably much more familiar with the previous verse,
“And we know that all things
work together for good to those who love God, to those who are
called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
We are likely to quote this
verse when. . .
We get fired
from our job
We are diagnosed with serious illnesses
Our house burns down
We experience a campaign of lies and slander,
We would experience far more
comfort and encouragement if we would also claim verse 29. The
reason God allows bad experiences to come into our lives is the
same as why He allows great blessings of joy and happiness.
Everything He allows shapes us to be more like Jesus. To truly
believe that makes all hurts to be worth it all.
2nd Corinthians 3:4-18, the apostle Paul compared the
New Covenant of Christ Jesus with the Mosaic Covenant to show how
the New Covenant has far greater glory. At the close he reveals
how keeping our eyes on Jesus transforms us into His likeness.
“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. . .”
The New Covenant: “.
. .How will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”
“For if the ministry of condemnation had glory. . .”The
New Covenant: “The
ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
Mosaic Covenant: “For
even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect…”
The New Covenant:
”. . .Because of the glory that excels.” 3:10.
“For if what was passing away was glorious. . .”
The New Covenant:
“. . .What remains is much more glorious.” “Therefore,
since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech---“
Mosaic Covenant: “. . .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. But their minds were blinded.
For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the
reading of the Old Testament.
The New Covenant: “. . .Because
the veil is taken away in Christ.”
Verses 13, 14.
Mosaic Covenant: “But
even unto this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their
The New Covenant: “Nevertheless when one turns to the LORD,
the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and
where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Vss
Let us summarize:
The Mosaic Covenant was
glorious. The Ten
Commandments revealed the holiness, righteousness, and justice
of God. The sacrifices pictured that God provided a means for
the sins of the people to be covered over until the sacrifice of
Jesus took away the sins of the world. The Great Commandments
reveal the love all of us are to have towards God and our fellow
Israel was blinded to the true
purpose of God’s law.
they mis-took the purpose of the law.
They believed that God gave the
law so they could save themselves by keeping the law by works of
righteousness and religious practice. They entered into a
covenant relationship with God in great confidence. “All that
the Lord has spoken we will do.”. Exodus 19:8: 24:3. It is
significant that even before Moses brought the final aspects of
the law the people were worshipping the golden calf provided by
their High Priest, Aaron (See Exodus 32:1-5) This was a clear
violation of the first two commandments.
The true purpose of God’s law
made clear. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:19, 20:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who
are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all
the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds
of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight for by
the law is the knowledge of sin.” In the verses that follow we
are informed that we receive the righteousness of God
“through faith in Jesus Christ” and we are ”justified freely
by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
(Verses 21-24). This is what Paul meant when he wrote in 2nd
Corinthians 3:16, “Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord
(Jesus), the veil is taken away.”
God’s Supreme Provision To Shape
Us Into The Likeness of Jesus.
“But we all
(true believers) 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.’”
This verse gives us some great
keys for God’s children to be shaped into the likeness of Jesus.
“But we all. . .
“ All true believers are encouraged to unite in The New Covenant
purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus and sealed by His own blood to
pursue God’s purpose of shaping them into the likeness of Jesus.
We are inclined to think that pastors, teachers, evangelists and
deacons are to strive to be like Jesus and the rest of us are
exempted from doing so. The apostle Paul informs us here that we
are all included.
“. . .With unveiled faces.
. .” We should reject the great spiritual blunder of
multitudes in the family of Israel to cover our eyes so that we
cannot see God’s grand purpose for us.
“. . .Beholding as in a
mirror the glory of the LORD. . .” We are told here to
continually gaze into the mirror God has provided us. Instead of
seeing a reflection of ourselves we see a likeness of the Lord
Jesus in His glory. We are promised that as we do so we are being
transformed into the same image from (one level of) glory to (a
higher level) of glory by the Spirit of the Lord.
We note that when the apostle
Paul wrote this, mirrors were made of highly polished metal. They
were much less clear than the mirrors we have today. Verse 14
indicates that the “mirror” represents the Holy Scriptures. “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 not taken away in Christ.” When
we read the Scriptures we should be looking for Jesus.
Jesus challenged the Jewish
religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures (Old
Testament) ,for in them you think you have eternal life; and
these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39.
Whether we are reading the Old
Testament or the New Testament we should be looking for Jesus.
The Holy Spirit will help us to see Him in His glory. As we
continue to gaze upon Him the Spirit of God will transform us from
our present level of glory to a higher level of glory . . .shaping
us into the likeness of Christ.
We are all encouraged to read
the Scriptures and look for Jesus…, the kind of person He is, the
truths He taught, and the examples He set. Then let the Holy
Spirit transform us.
Copyright © 2009 Thomas E Berry
Scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.