“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Human beings are wired in such a way that makes us desire beauty. We want to gaze upon what is beautiful and majestic. That is why people visit the Grand Canyon and go to art galleries and the list goes on and on. But while there is much beauty in the created world, surely nothing compares with “the glory of the Lord.” There is nothing more worthy of beholding than the glory of Jesus and this is exactly what God intends for us. Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
There is a sense in which the ultimate fulfillment of this will be when the saints are in heaven where, “we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). We long for that day, but is it not possible to see Jesus and “behold the glory of the Lord” this side of heaven? The answer is yes. In fact, the bible encourages it (Hebrews 12:2). In contrast to much of what the world has to offer, God invites us to behold true beauty – the glory of His Son.
The problem with modern Christianity is that we are content with little. We think that if we simply take a quick glance here and there, that will be enough to sustain our spiritual lives. Forgive me for the X-rated illustration, but picture a man and his wife on their wedding night. Do you think he is going to simply “glance” at his wife or is he going to “behold” her and gaze upon her beauty? If there is a such a man who is content with just a glance, I have yet to meet him. Well, in the same way, God is inviting us to behold the glory of the Lord, through His Son, Jesus. Safe to say, this is not a view that will disappoint which means more than a glance is required.
Before we are regenerated and “born again” in Christ, we are blind to the glory of the Lord. But when we experience new life in Christ, we can finally look with “unveiled face.” We begin to see all that we have in Christ and how little we have in the world. We used to think just the opposite, but “having the eyes of our hearts enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18), we can now see clearly. That is not to say there is no longer a battle to fight. Satan, our enemy works very hard to blind us and obstruct our view of God. But God has equipped us with everything we need to “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
At this point, perhaps you are asking the “why” question. Why is it important to behold the glory of the Lord? Well, in addition to finding our ultimate joy and satisfaction in Christ, it’s all about “becoming” the person God wants us to be. I stole the phrase “Beholding is Becoming” from John Piper, but what it tells us is that God wants to shape and transform us into the image of His Son. The goal of the Christian life is not simply to stay the way we are, but to become the people we were intended to be – people who reflect Christ to the world and who carry the “aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15). The great thing is that the more we “behold” Christ, the more we “become” like Christ.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the choice is yours. We have been given the invitation to look and “behold” the glory of the Lord. Either we continue to take a quick glance here and there and maintain our comfortable Christianity. Or we can behold and become. We can look and be changed. We can be transformed into the image of Christ. Unfortunately, most people will opt for the former, because it’s easy and requires no change on their part. But for those who do look and behold, they will not be disappointed. Far from it. They will “taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8).