Transformation into Glory
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness from glory to glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (v. 18).- 2 Corinthians 3:7–18
Adam was created good but not yet glorious. He was given a test, and if he had not sinned, he would have received glory from God. Man was originally designed to move from a natural to a transfigured life. Because of sin, however, humanity took a detour. Instead of moving from natural life to transfigured life, he moved from life to death. In redemption, however, the sin of Adam is covered, and humanity is restored to life. More than that, though, in the resurrection of Christ, humanity is taken into the transfigured life that was to have been Adam’s reward.
In his natural first estate, Adam was naked, but God was clothed in glory. Adam, as God’s image, was also destined to be clothed in glory, but because of his sin he wound up with filthy rags. When we look at God’s glory in the Bible, we find several things. First, the glory is pictured as a cloud of light, color, sweet smells, and beautiful sounds around Him. Second, when we press into the cloud and look at it in detail, we find that the cloud is not composed of water droplets but of angels, a host of personages arrayed around the King (Revelation 4–5). Third, we find that the glory cloud is the work of the Spirit, who glorifies the Father and the Son.
In His transfiguration Jesus revealed the beautiful estate that God had designed for the sons and daughters of Adam. In His resurrection, Jesus entered that estate, His body being glorified. Paul told the Corinthians that believers, though they live in vessels of clay, already possess that same glory. We are clothed with the Spirit and surrounded by angelic protectors, as we are members of God’s glory cloud arrayed around His throne. The glory that is given to us is the same glory that God Himself has, which is His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3–4).
We grow from initial glory to greater glory as we come in contact with the source of glory: God Himself. Moses received glory when he talked with God, but that glory faded. Jesus’ glory just keeps growing, however, and in union with Him, our glory grows as well—so long as we keep close to Him, studying and obeying His word, and living in community with His people.
The glory that surrounds God is seen as beautiful colors, a wash of amazing sounds, a perfume of wonderful smells. That God adorns Himself with beauty is a sign to us. Do not settle for paltry architecture, advertising-jingle music, or weak pop culture in your life. Christians should be at the forefront of artistic development.
Passages for Further Study
1 Samuel 2:8
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 John 2:3