THE FACE OF CHRIST
Loving Lord, open my eyes to see, my lips to praise, my hands to serve, and my feet to obey.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 4:1-6
Present Weakness and Resurrection Life
4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 4:6 Gen. 1:3
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.’1
We know what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus – a mighty conversion in which ‘a light from heaven flashed around him’.2 The rest truly is history. Paul encountered the risen Lord powerfully. Blinded as he was, we do not know whether he saw the Lord’s face. Yet he could well have had this experience in mind when he recounted how God’s light has shone into the hearts of believers, enabling us to see the glory of God in the face of Christ (v 6). There is a direct line from the God of creation to Christ as the revelation of God’s glory: God revealing God’s own self through God’s own Son.
There are 42 individual muscles in the human face, enabling a hugely meaningful range of emotions to be expressed. This is not true of any other creature. We can only imagine the face of Christ, but we can be absolutely sure that it expresses the fullness of God’s love, God’s glory, God’s beauty, and God’s holiness toward us. It suffuses us with light and banishes the darkness. In turn, this requires of those whom God calls that they renounce any forms of duplicity or distortion or shameful ways, most especially for those who are to be representatives of the ways of God, as Paul was (v 1). There is evidence enough that Paul feels impelled to say this because of accusations slurring his character and his ministry. Even so, he is not going to give up.
Whatever our calling, transparency is always the best policy. As God’s light shines through the risen Lord, so his light should shine through us, that people might catch a glimpse of the King. Jesus daringly told his disciples, ‘You are the light of the world.’3 We are agents of the one who is the very Light of the World.4
The church can never be the light of the world until Christ is the Light of the church.
Gracious Lord, enable me to put on the belt of sincerity (Ephesians 6:14). Let there be no duplicity in me.
1 Num 6:25 2 Acts 9:3 3 Matt 5:14 4 John 8:12
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