THE FACE THAT TRANSFORMS

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” —2 Corinthians 4:6 

The face of Christ has transforming power. Those who look upon it in love, and intently — are changed by it into its own beauty. This teaching is brought out very clearly in the New Testament. John tells us that when we shall see Jesus as He is, we shall become like Him (1 John 3:2-3).

The apostle Paul describes in a wonderful way, the transforming power of the face of Christ as we look upon it: “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). The glory of the Lord is the glory which shines in the face of Jesus Christ. We cannot see that glory with our eyes, for Christ is in Heaven. But it is reflected for us on the pages of the gospel. As we ponder him in these pages intently, we look upon his glory. 

The effect of this continual beholding, is the transformation of our lives into Christ’s image. That is, as we consider Christ, as we read the story of his life, think of him, meditate on the beauty of his character, look into his face with love and adoration — the brightness of that face prints itself upon our faces, and we are transformed into his image. This transformation is not wrought suddenly, instantaneously, but gradually — “with ever-increasing glory.”

Life is a school. The qualities of Christian character are studies set for us. No one learns a musical instrument in one lesson. No one can become an accomplished artist in a day. Just so, no one can get the full beauty of Christ into his life in one brief year. We have it here in Paul’s words — “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” — that is, line by line, little by little. 

Fellowship with Christ is the essential thing in cultivating godly character. Not only is he our teacher — it is not enough that he shall set the lessons for us, but he brings down the divine life and imparts it to us. John lay upon the master’s bosom, and in this close friendship, he grew into the master’s likeness. It is thus that we all must live, if we would get the beauty of Christ upon our lives. We never shall grow like him, if we stay habitually far away from Him.

If a Christian lives distant from Christ, he soon grows earthly and loses the spiritual loveliness out of his life. But if he abides near his master, in adoring love, in close companionship — then the glory of Christ enters his life and transforms him. Looking at Christ, intently, with a devout, reverent heart, beholding him not merely in a brief glance now and then, but continuously — the brightness of that blessed face prints itself upon his life.

Those who look intently at the face of Christ, entering into the spirit of his life, walking in daily fellowship with him, bearing his cross, loving him and doing his will — take his image upon their own lives, grow like him, until neighbors and friends begin to see the resemblance and say, “Why, they are like Jesus Christ!”.

FROM ‘THE FACE OF THE MASTER’ BY J.R. MILLER

THE GRACE OF GOD

“The God of all grace…” —1 Peter 5:10

“By the Grace of God I am what I am.” This is the believer’s eternal confession. Grace found him a rebel—it leaves him a son. Grace found him wandering at the gates of hell—it leaves him at the gates of heaven. Grace devised the scheme of Redemption. Justice never would; Reason never could. And it is Grace which carries out that scheme. No sinner would ever have sought his God but “by grace.” The thickets of Eden would have proved Adam’s grave had not grace called him out. Saul would have lived and died the haughty self-righteous persecutor, had not grace laid him low. The thief on the cross would have continued breathing out his blasphemies, had not grace arrested his tongue and tuned it for glory. “Out of the knottiest timber,” says Rutherford, “He can make vessels of mercy for service in the high palace of glory!”

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THY SEA SO GREAT

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.
Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?
Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.
 
Winfred Ernest Garrison

THE WEIGHT OF ONE

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” —Matthew 13:44

Once I was preaching at a secular university, and as I was preaching on the atonement this student stood up and said, “I got a question for ya”. I said, “What?”. “How can one man suffering for a few short hours on a cross save a multitude of men, a countless multitude according to you, of men from eternal judgment”. I said, “Son, you meant it for evil but God will mean it for good, thank you for that question. Now sit down!”.

“You want to know how one man dying alone for a few short hours on a tree can save a multitude of men from an eternity in hell? Because that one man is worth more than all of them put together. You take mountains and molehills, crickets and clowns, you take everything, every planet, every star, every form of beauty, everything that sings, everything that brings delight, and you put it all in the scale, and you put Christ in the other side… He outweighs them all, he outweighs them all.”

Brethren, this is the one we chase after! Go to your studies! Go to your studies, flee there! Not to become smarter than the next man but to behold his glory! Until it hurts you, and disintegrates you, and reconstitutes you and makes you a preacher.

—Paul Washer is the founder & missions director of HeartCry Missionary Society.

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FREE

BUT THEN IT WAS TOO LATE

“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing. Continue reading

THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF SANITY

I have a somewhat unique perspective on the political process in the United States. As a professional speaker and debater with extensive experience around the globe engaging in polemics and debate (and as an Independent, unaligned with either political party), I watch the drama playing out in the US with a mixture of horror, disgust, revulsion, shock, and what would pass for humor if our freedoms, liberty, and future were not at stake. It is not that political debate has been particularly in-depth or appropriate in years past. Real “debates” have always been a rarity, but the 2016 Presidential election has reached new heights in absurdity. And this time, “evangelicals” are smack-dab in the middle, playing a pivotal role in what I am convinced will be their own downfall. Continue reading

HIS STEADFAST LOVE

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” —Psalm 103:8-12

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