PA Bible Teaching Fellowship

Quite A Change

By Shawn Weir

With the coming of a new year, there's always talk of change. A new year brings new beginnings and so people are talking about wanting to see some real changes. Many look at themselves in the mirror and are disappointed at the reflection. Changes are in order and resolutions are made. Maybe it's finally time to start training for that 5k, or maybe it's time to start eating less chocolate and more broccoli. Yuck!

Regardless, all agree: a change will do you good!

Well, for the Christian in the new birth, we've already been profoundly changed. The moment one confesses Jesus Christ as the Lord and believes that God has raised him from the dead they are brought from being without strength, ungodly, unrighteous, and in sin to being redeemed, reconciled, justified, and in Christ.

  • We've already been transferred from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear son.
  • We've already been delivered from death unto everlasting life.
  • Those old things have already passed away and the new has come.
  • In Christ, the Christian already is a new creation

Now that's quite a change!

However, much like the talk of the time, Christians may find themselves still unsatisfied and still desiring to see some real changes. After all, when one looks in the mirror things sure look the same. All the accomplishments of our Lord Jesus Christ are inextricably ours; however, in order to behold it, the Christian must change who they're seeing when looking at that man in the mirror.

2nd Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Christian is to look, like in a mirror, and see the Lord Jesus Christ. As we see him as our reflection, we are changed. When we then no longer see all the many failings of our flesh, we see the flawlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's a reflection of marvelous perfection, and it's quite a change!

The Greek word for "changed" is metamorphoō and it means, "to change into another form, to transform or to transfigure." It is the word from which we get our English word "metamorphosis." The change when a caterpillar goes through the metamorphosis is profound and from within. A butterfly isn't the same old caterpillar with just some cheap costume wings on. It doesn't need to pretend. It became new.

This word only occurs in four places in the Bible. To appreciate just how dramatic this change is, let's consider those uses. First once in Romans, then two in the gospels and finally we'll come back to our verse here 2nd Corinthians.

The usage in Romans is regarding the change that occurs in the heart with God's Word.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The word "transformed" here is our Greek word metamorphoō. Rather than being molded by this world, the Christian allows the Word of God to change them from the inside out. The Word of God alone is living and powerful. The Word of God alone is sharp enough to divide all matters of soul and spirit. And the Word of God alone is a right judge of every thought and intent in the heart of a man.

As we renew our minds to the truth of God's Word, we will be changed.

However, if we don't make the choice to allow God's Word to change us, the world will gladly make that choice for us. The entire course of this adversarial world is engineered to mold men and women contrary to the will of God. Conversely, as we choose to put the Word on in our minds, it will change us and we will prove personally by test those things which are good, acceptable [well-pleasing], and perfect. Those things which are not the choices of this conforming world but the will of God.

That's quite a change!

The two usages in the gospels are regarding our Lord Jesus Christ and his change at the mount of transfiguration.

Mark 9:2 - 3
2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

Before their very eyes, Peter, James, and John beheld this common-looking man transformed into a figure of glory. Peter would later refer to himself and these men as being "eyewitnesses of his majesty." This word here for "transfigured" is our Greek word metamorphoō, and the same is used in the parallel record in Matthew 17:2. Let's consider just how changed Jesus Christ became.

3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller [bleach] on earth can white them.

Luke 9: 29 describes his raiment as "white and glistening." Matthew 17:2 says "his raiment was white as the light." Here in Mark, we see it was as exceeding white as snow, and we see that no matter how expensive your brand is, no bleach on earth could match the pure white of his clothing. Matthew 17:2 says that his face "did shine as the sun." This son of man truly also was the only begotten son of God.

Similar descriptions of Jesus Christ in his glorious appearance are found in Revelation:

Revelation 1: 13 – 16 NASB
13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.
14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.
15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength

Compared to how he looked during his earthly ministry, I think it's fair to say that's quite a change! This is who we are to see when we look in the mirror. This is our Lord, and he is glorious!

Sadly, because of the numerous images and depictions, when many picture Jesus Christ they still see him as humiliated and beaten. This is not his current state at all. He is resurrected in a new spiritual body. God made him the preeminent one and all the authority of heaven and earth have been given to him. When he appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, it was illustrious and brilliantly bright. In order to appreciate the glory of the Lord reflected back on us, we need to appreciate just how glorified God has made him.

When he returns to gather his church, we shall all be changed to put on a heavenly body just like he already has. When he comes in glory down to the earth (as described in Matthew 24:27 – 31), it will be as lighting for brightness shining from the east to the west. He is no longer in shame or humiliation. He will be "coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

This is our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 1: 3 - 4
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Revelation 19: 12—16 NASB
12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.
13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written,


So, back to our verse in 2nd Corinthians:

2nd Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Just how changed should the Christian expect to be when seeing Jesus Christ as their reflection?

How transformed is the mind when renewed to God's Word?

How transfigured was Jesus Christ on the mount?

How glorious is Jesus Christ now?

Contrary to what many believe, God's Word doesn't tell Christians to change themselves. God by grace has already made us new in Christ. We can't possibly add to being completely filled with him, but many Christians do still need to change who

they are looking at in their reflection.

When we see Jesus Christ as our reflection, our lives and walk are dramatically changed. We then see him as our identity. His finished work as ours to walk in. His triumph as our reality.

It is also important to note that this change is not an effort of our flesh, but "by the spirit of the Lord." The Christian is to look, like in a mirror, and see the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we do, we are changed into seeing that glory in ourselves by the spirit of the Lord. Instead of seeing all our shortcomings reflect back at us, we can see that his glory is our glory.

Just like the butterfly, you aren't the same old man or woman with just a Jesus Christ costume on. No need to pretend. This change is real. According to Colossians 2:10, we are completely filled in him. That doesn't leave any room for the old left. What a truth to be claimed and proclaimed by the Christian! From the very crown of your head to the sole of your foot, you are completely filled in Christ who is in the supreme position over every principality and power.

So, we're new creations in a new year. When looking in a physical mirror, you may choose to make a few resolutions to help improve that reflection. Maybe you'll want to hit the gym more or even start eating your broccoli (perish the thought!), but know that you can't possibly improve your spiritual reflection.

It's Christ in you. See him in you. See his glory reflecting back on you.

It's quite a change!