This is the second part of our look at mirrors in the Bible. In part one we examined the negative role of a mirror, how it shows us our flawed state. James chapter 1 tells us that careful reading of the Bible shows us “what kind of person” we are.
Becoming more like Jesus
The two other mentions of mirrors deal with a mirror’s positive role, transforming us into something better. Both of these passages are found in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known
1Co 13:11, 12.
To understand this passage, it helps to squish it beside the other mirror passage that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church. Before reading that, let’s keep a couple of things in mind. This passage looks ahead to when our partial knowledge will be replaced by fullness. Paul compares this transformation to his childhood ways being replaced by the mature thinking of a man. Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. What does this mean? Whose face? Let’s read on:
18 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 from the Lord, the Spirit.
When a person turns to the Lord, the veil over their heart is taken away and they can behold the Lord’s glory “as in a mirror”. The sentence would make logical sense without the “as in a mirror” part, so why is it here? This is the main point: linked directly with beholding the “glory of the Lord” is the idea of being transformed into the same image!
Beholding Christ Transforms
When I look into a mirror all I see is myself. So how can we make sense of the idea that we behold the Lord’s glory in a mirror? It makes sense if the glory of the Lord IS the mirror! Put another way: the glory of the Lord is the mirror by which we are transformed into His image.
How does looking at the glory of the Lord change us? In a similar way that looking at the “glory” of a bright light changes our vision. After looking at a bright light, when we do look away, everything else appears dimmer. By looking at Christ, we enjoy His loveliness, moral perfection, and supreme power. At the same time, the things of earth “will grow strangely dim”, as we realize how pale and tawdry the desires of this life are.By looking at Christ, we enjoy His loveliness, moral perfection, and supreme power. At the same time, the things of earth “will grow strangely dim”, as we realize how pale and tawdry the desires of this life are. Click To Tweet
Right now we see in a mirror dimly, and that transforms us. What will be the transformation of seeing the Lord “face to face”? Thankfully we don’t have to speculate: “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2 We shall be like Him because we will see Him.
Hebrews 1 tells us that Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and “the exact representation of His nature” (v. 3). In this glory is marvelous transforming power. Let’s fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” Heb 12:2.Hebrews 1 tells us that Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and “the exact representation of His nature” (v. 3). In this glory is marvelous transforming power. Let’s fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” Heb 12:2. Click To Tweet