Saving Face

One of my most favorite passages of scripture (I have many!) is 2 Corinthians 4:6 where it says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Though I’ve never seen Jesus with my physical eyes, I imagine the most beautiful, most compassionate, loving and just face ever beheld by anyone.

Recently, in my morning devotions, I was reading from a devotional centered around the sermons of A.W. Tozer. This particular day was on another favorite passage, Romans 8: 28-30.  His sermonette was on how God conforms us into the image of His Son, Jesus, restoring us to where we were before the fall of mankind. That got my mind going on a tangent. It went sort of like this…

Hmmm…restoration. What was mankind like before the fall? In the beginning God created all things, the universe. Everything He created, He pronounced it as “good”. But when God finished creating everything, human beings being the last, He said “it is very good.”. Mankind seems somehow to be the crown of God’s creation. Let’s compare this man to other parts of God’s creation. Can mankind compare to the beauty of a snow-capped mountain, surrounded by meadows of blooming wildflowers? Or can his beauty rival the flaming glory of wooded hills in the Autumn? I think not. These sights take my breath away. What about mankind’s power? Can he compare to the power of the sea as it crashes onto the rocks of the shore or to the roar of the waterfalls falling from great heights, or to the power of a lioness as she hunts? Somehow, I suspect we rate rather low on this scale too. How about intricacy? Surely, we are complicated creatures. True, but let’s take the giraffe. This creature looks so ungainly with its long spindly legs and great neck but have you ever seen one run? I have. They are one of the most graceful creatures I have ever seen! I have also seen them drink. Yes, they are designed so that they can lower that looooong neck down to the ground to drink from a pool of cool water…without their heads exploding from the blood pressure. In addition to all this, their eyes are thought to be the most complex of any known creature. I’m afraid once again humans fall short. Nor can we compare to the wonder of the heavens on a clear, starry night. No wonder the Psalmist said in Psalm 8, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” He was all too aware of our insignificance. So, what is so special about the human race? I suspect it is this one thing - we were created in the image and likeness of God Himself! That, in itself, is awesome, beautiful and powerful.

Then my mind turned to how far we have fallen from that wonderful state we as humans once enjoyed. I realized with a jolt, that this very fact of having been created in God’s image is the very reason Satan hates us so much and works so hard for our downfall. You see, Satan’s always had this ambition to grasp God’s power and authority. He is envious of God. It’s odd. He wants to be like God in power, but does not want to be God-like in character - love, compassion, gentleness or even justice. He doesn’t want to be truly like God, he only wants the perks. Yet, Satan knows he is doomed to never experience the extent of God’s power in himself. He will only receive the fullness of God’s wrath when God has decided enough is enough. So, meanwhile, Satan does all he can to drag as many of God’s crown of creation into hell with him, to destroy him, to degrade this human who once bears God’s image, though tarnished, as much as possible – to lower these humans to the level of animals who never enjoyed God’s image. Yes, he hates us because we were created in God’s image and Satan hates God.

Finally, my mind turned to the restoration of human beings back to the original image of Himself, which brings me full circle to where I started. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Note the passage ends with ‘glorified’, in the past tense. Obviously, I am not there yet! It hit me then, that God is able to use the past tense because to Him, it is already accomplished. He has determined already that I would be made into the image of His Son, so He called me, He justified me, and He glorified me. Woah. God is not bound by time, like I am. He lives in the past, present and future all at once. So as far as He’s concerned…it is done. Wow! What a huge relief for me, who struggles on a daily basis with my own selfishness, disobedience, and shortcomings! It is done. It is inevitable. I am restored already into the image of God. My destiny (and indeed all who believe in and have received Jesus Christ) is to be like God…not in the grasping, envious, lusting for power which Satan only knows, but to experience the fullness of God in all His beauty, love, awesomeness, value, and yes, power. What a cool way this was to start the day!

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