Metamorphosis. To change form. To transform. Looks like the root Greek word for metamorphosis is found four times in the New Testament. Twice the word is used to describe Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount, when He changed form physically as “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Mt. 17:2, Mk. 9:2). And twice it is used to describe a dynamic that can occur spiritually in the believer.
Before this morning, if you had asked me where those two times were, I’d be quick to respond with Romans 12:2–that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. That as God’s word is taken in, God’s nature is born out. That as we set our minds on things above, we start to behave as people of the kingdom of heaven here below. That as the living word of God infiltrates our thinking, the living Spirit of God increasingly influences our walking.
But, before this morning, though familiar with the verse, I’m not sure I would have been quick to identify this other metamorphosis dynamic revealed in Scripture.
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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Spiritual metamorphosis happens in a believer’s life through beholding the glory of the Lord. Some translations says the dynamic occurs by “reflecting the glory of the Lord” (CSB, NIV). And some translations, in dealing with the tricky Greek word being translated, say it’s both–that we are changed by “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (NKJV, NASB), that it happens as we “see and reflect the glory of the Lord” (NLT).
Bottom line? Turn your face to the sun consistently enough, and eventually you’re going to emit the effects of the sun. Behold the glory of the Lord and eventually you’ll reflect the glory of the Lord.
How come? Because to be fixed on the glory of the Lord is to be transformed increasingly into the likeness of the glory of the Lord. From “one degree of glory to another”, behold the likeness of the risen King and you’ll eventually know a metamorphosis, “being transformed into the same image.”
Chew on that for a bit. Behold Christ, become like Christ. Fix your eyes on Him, find yourself, more and more, like Him. Be a reflector of Jesus, as His light shining on you starts bouncing off you, and you’ll be a resembler of Jesus, as you increasingly think like Him, feel like Him, and act like Him.
To be sure, a work in progress. But that’s the exciting dynamic of metamorphosis, isn’t it? Being a work in progress!!! Being transformed, from the inside out, as we behold Jesus.
Behold Him in Scriptures. Behold Him in His living temple, the body of Christ, the family of God, as we gather together with other believers. Behold Him as, together, we come to the cross, as often as we do it, when we sit with Him at the Lord’s table. Behold Him every time we seek to be still know that He is God.
Who doesn’t want to be transformed? Who doesn’t want this sanctification thing to take? Who doesn’t want to be more like Jesus?
It happens through the renewing of mind. And it also happens, praise God, as we behold the glory of Jesus!
Open the eyes of our heart, Lord! We want to see Jesus! We want to know metamorphosis!
By Your grace. For Your glory.