2 Corinthians 3:18
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.
Note 19 at 2Co 3:18: This phrase "open face" is a play on the symbolism of Moses' veil that Paul had been speaking of since 2Co 3:13. The word "open" was translated from the Greek word "ANAKALUPTO," and this Greek word means "to unveil" (Strong's Concordance). Therefore, this is speaking of an unveiled face. Moses' veil concealed the glory of God on his face, just as the Law blocks our view of the glory of God. When we get rid of our "Law mentality" (see note 14 at 2Co 3:14), we will be able to see the grace of God clearly.
Note 20 at 2Co 3:18: We behold this glory "as in a glass." One compound Greek word, "KATOPTRIZOMAI," was translated as the complete phrase "beholding as in a glass." This word means "to mirror oneself, i.e. to see reflected" (Strong's Concordance). Therefore, this glass is speaking of a mirror (as is Jas 1:23), and the idea is of looking at the glory of the Lord that is in us.
As we see the glory of the Lord that is within us through our union with Christ, our outer selves will begin to reflect that glory for all to see (Php 1:6). Many Christians envision God's glory as being far off in heaven, and therefore, they don't experience the transformation that comes by beholding the glory that is in us (Col 1:27). Paul gave us a prayer to pray that would open up our spiritual eyes to the riches of the glory of His inheritance, which is in the saints (Eph 1:18).
Note 21 at 2Co 3:18: The Greek word that was translated "changed" here is "METAMORPHOO." This is the same word that was translated "transformed" in Ro 12:2, and it is the word we get our English word "metamorphosis" from (see note 8 at Ro 12:2). It is speaking of a complete transformation, like that of a worm to a butterfly. As we turn our hearts from the condemnation of the Law to behold the righteousness within us through the grace of Christ, our outer selves will be transformed little by little to reflect that inner glory.
This verse establishes a principle that we become what we behold. If we look on the sins of our outer selves, we will be enslaved to those sins, but if we behold the glory of the Lord within us, we will reflect that glory in our actions. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pr 23:7). Constantly focusing our attention on failure will actually cause failure, but focusing on Christ in us will produce a lifestyle like that of Christ.
The phrase "from glory to glory" is referring to being changed from the glory of the Old Covenant to the glory of the New Covenant.
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