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. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
God tells us that when a person trusts and accepts Jesus into his life, he is new creature, old things are passed away, and all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is the Biblical reality for many people of the Bible: Paul was changed from a murderer to a missionary; Peter was transformed from being a coward to a courageous winner of souls; John was changed from being the son of thunder to a selfless apostle of love. However, many today ask, “I am not changed: what am I doing wrong?” To answer this question, notice three ingredients of change:
Firstly, we need the glass: The Bible teaches that the glass is the Word of God.
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
God’s word has transforming and molding power; God’s word has cleansing power for wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to God’s word. It is not a reading of the Word that changes but obedience to it. We need the glass, the word of God for change: are we regularly in the word of God?
Secondly, we need the same image. The Bible teaches that we are to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). As we study, read and meditate on the Word of God in our private devotions, and as we take heed to lessons taught and expounded by Godly men, God changes us into that image. How does He do it? God gives us a situation to respond to, bringing to mind the verse required, (thus requiring us to be in the Word), impressing in us the need to do right, and urging to choose right. When we have chosen right, our lives begin to turn towards Him. As we continually make the right choices, we will, by God’s grace, be steering the ship of our life back to where it should be: in the will of God. The image is the standard of all behaviour and thoughts, the wealth of all power, love and self-control; the image is Christ Himself. Are we being changed into that image?
Thirdly, we need the Spirit of God. Without Him we can do nothing, and God sends His Spirit into our lives so that we can have the power to decide, do and dare to be right. Without God’s Spirit, there will be no change from the inside. We need the Spirit of God because He lives inside of us where we need Him the most, to change us from the inside.
Fourthly, we need patience and perseverance as God changes us from glory to glory. Just as we do not see the opening of the petals of a beautiful flower in an instant, and as we understand the lengthy development of the child in the womb, we need to patiently bear the trials, endure the tribulation and obey the Spirit, patiently shouldering the weight of His testing in order that God may effect change in us.
Some may say, “I’m not so bad, look at others!” Remember, to change into the glory of God requires not a comparison with others, but an interest in how we, as individuals, grow into God’s image and into His Will. May the Lord help us effect genuine change through His word, His image, His Spirit and perseverance and patience of His people.
Lord, change us!
Evangelist – Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church