Monday, August 19, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.7

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, being perfected into one. Because of this, the world will fully understand that you have sent me, and have loved them as much as you have loved me. May they one day be with me where I am, beholding my glory, which you have lovingly given me since the foundation of the world." 

Whenever I get to spend time with my grandkids I look to see what -- in their nature --reflects the qualities of their parents (my sons.)  Nolan has his dad's cheery nature; Vanessa her dad's ability to absorb things quickly and produce excellent results; like dad, everything is black & white for Ayden; Van seems to have his dad's loving tenderness; Malachi his dad's creative instincts.

But those qualities are passed on, primarily, through genetics and imitation.  What I will really be interested in seeing is, in the years to come, what will they choose, as a matter of will, the ways they wish to be like their parents.

The apostle Paul, reflecting on this truth, observed, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."  

MacDonald digs a little deeper into the meaning of "beholding as in a mirror":

"Paul never thought of the mirror as reflecting, as throwing back the rays of light from its surface; he thought of it as receiving, taking into itself, the things presented to it-here, as filling its bosom with the glory it looks upon.

When I see the face of my friend in a mirror, the mirror seems to hold it in itself, to surround the visage with its liquid embrace. The countenance is there -- down there in the depth of the mirror. True, it shines radiant out of it, but it is not the shining out of it that Paul has in his thought; it is the fact-the visual fact, ...of the mirror holding in it the face.

The prophet-apostle seems to me, then, to say, 'We all, with clear vision of the Lord, mirroring in our hearts his glory, even as a mirror would take into itself his face, are thereby changed into his likeness, his glory working our glory, by the present power, in our inmost being, of the Lord, the spirit.'

Our mirroring of Christ, then, is one with the presence of his spirit in us. The idea, you see, is not the reflection, the radiating of the light of Christ on others, though that were a figure lawful enough; but the taking into, and having in us, him working to the changing of us.

Paul's idea is that when we take into our understanding, our heart, our conscience, our being, the glory of God, namely Jesus Christ as he shows himself to our eyes, our hearts, our consciences, he works upon us, and will keep working, till we are changed to the very likeness we have thus mirrored in us; for with his likeness he comes himself, and dwells in us. 

He will work until the same likeness is wrought out and perfected in us, the image, namely, of the humanity of God, in which image we were made at first, but which could never be developed in us except by the indwelling of the perfect likeness. By the power of Christ thus received and at home in us, we are changed-the glory in him becoming glory in us, his glory changing us to glory.

The Lord Jesus, by free, potent communion with their inmost being, will change his obedient brethren till in every thought and impulse they are good like him, unselfish, neighbourly, brotherly like him, loving the Father perfectly like him, ready to die for the truth like him, caring like him for nothing in the universe but the will of God, which is love, harmony, liberty, beauty, and joy."(George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons III, The Mirror of the Lord, emphasis added)

Perhaps a more modern metaphor: the data captured in an IPad tablet creates an image on the screen by controlling the internal computing processes!  So the image is not a reflection, it is the creative glory of internal changes wrought by a greater authority cooperating with an obedient host.

Christ In Me The Hope of Glory! 
When by His grace I shall look on His face, 
that will be Glory for me!