2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory…
I. IN EVERY REFLECTOR THERE MUST BE AN EXPOSURE OF ITSELF TO THE SUN, SO THAT THE LIGHT MAY FALL FULL UPON IT. So if we would reflect the glories of God, we must make a full presentation of ourselves to God. How many of us fail to shire just because of some spiritual obliquity of aim and purpose!
II. A REFLECTOR CAN ONLY ANSWER ITS PURPOSE WHEN THERE IS NOTHING INTERPOSED BETWEEN IT AND THE SOURCE OF LIGHT. We need to have our face unveiled in order to receive the light as well as to reflect it. The introduction of some substance renders the reflector useless. Now observe, the sun is very seldom eclipsed, but when that is so the world itself is in no way accountable; another orb is interposed between the earth and the sun. Even so the Christian's light may sometimes be eclipsed, not because of any fault of ours, but for some wise purpose which God has in view. But it is otherwise with self-caused darkness. The sun, while seldom eclipsed, is frequently beclouded, and by clouds which are due to exhalations arising from the earth. Alas! how many Christians live under a clouded sky, for which they have only to thank themselves.
1. Here is one who lives under the ominous thundercloud of care.
2. Here is another who dwells in the fog of earthly-mindedness.
3. Here is yet another who is wrapped round in the cold mist of doubts and fears, steaming up from the restless sea of human experiences.
III. IF A MIRROR IS TO REFLECT IT MUST BE KEPT CLEAN. I saw an ancient mirror of polished steel in an old baronial hall. There it was, in just as good condition as when fair ladies saw their faces reflected in it in the days of the Plantagenets. But its preservation in the damp atmosphere of Cornwall was due to the fact that generation after generation of servants had always kept it clean. Just think how one small spot of rust in all these hundreds of years would have marred that surface for ever. Oh, Christian, no wonder that thou hast lost thy reflecting power. Thou hast been careless about little things; but nothing can be smaller than the dust which robs the mirror of its reflecting power. Or perhaps thou hast allowed the rust spots of evil habits to spoil thy surface. Let us see to it that we keep the mirror bright and unsullied! The most virulent corrosive acid can do but little harm to the surface of polished steel, if wiped off the moment it falls; but let it remain, and very soon an irreparable mischief is done. Even so you may be overtaken even in a very serious fault; but when it has been promptly confessed and put away, the truth is realised: "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light," etc.
IV. NOTE THE WAY IN WHICH THE ANCIENT MIRRORS WERE FORMED. The metal had to be smoothed and polished by friction.
1. And are we not God's workmanship in this respect, and does He not employ our trying experiences here just to induce this end?
2. The mirror needs to be polished by a skilled hand; and as long as we are in God's hands, He can, and will, polish us for Himself. But when we take ourselves out of His hands, and only see chance or circumstances or stern old mother Nature, in our experiences, these clumsy operators only scratch the surface, which needs to be polished.
V. But there comes a point when the figure breaks down, for THE MIRROR ALWAYS REMAINS A MIRROR — dark itself, however much light it may reflect. BUT IT IS OTHERWISE WITH THE TRUE CHRISTIAN.
1. The light not only falls on but enters into him, and becomes part of himself. The true Christian is not only a light-giver — he is light. "Now are ye light in the Lord." The Christian who puts a veil on his face because he does not care to give, will find that he is also precluded by his veil from receiving; but he who both receives and gives will also find that he keeps.
2. And that which he keeps proves within him a transforming power by which he is changed from glory into glory. Thank God for our capacity of change. There are some who seem to be proud of never changing.
3. We are familiar with the idea that God is to be glorified in each fresh stage of spiritual experience, but are we equally familiar with the thought that each fresh acquisition that faith lays hold of brings new glory with it to him by whom the acquisition is made? From glory unto glory.
(1) Is it not glory when first the sinner, dead in trespasses and sing, hears Christ say, "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live"?
(2) Time passes on, and the soul cries again "Glory to God!" as he makes the discovery that the redemption of Christ entitles him to be free indeed from the tyrant power of sin.
(3) Time flies on, and still we change. "Glory to God!" cries the working Christian, as he presents his body a living sacrifice, and feels the living fire descend and consecrate the offering. "Glory to thee, My child," the Saviour still seems to answer; "thou art a worker together with Me; thy labour is not in vain in Me thy Lord."(4) Still we change. "Glory to God!" cries the advancing saint, as he sees the prize of his high calling, and presses towards it. "Glory to thee, my child," is still the Saviour's response; "as thou hast borne the image of the earthly, so shalt thou bear the image of the earthly, so shalt thou bear the image of the heavenly."(5) Thus we press on from glory unto glory until it is all glory. "Glory to God!" exclaims the triumphant soul as he enters the eternal home. "Glory to thee, my child!" still seems the answer, as Christ bids His faithful follower share His throne. Oh, may we thus reflect His glory for ever!
(W. Hay-Aitken, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.