Beholding as in a Glass

This is a study on how to walk with God.  We're born again; we love God; we want to do His Will; but we fall short, over and over again.  How can we change that?  How do we really walk with God?

Ephesians 2:8-10:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has ordained that we should walk in the good works unto which we are created.  Just to be clear, what part of us is created?  The new man, i.e., spirit!

Romans 5:15:
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

That gift is our holy spirit that God created within us.

Romans 5:19:
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Notice it says, "by the obedience of one ..."  Who's the one who obeyed?  Was it you?  Did your obedience make you righteous?  But notice it says, "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."  (Emphasis added.)  Your obedience didn't make many righteous, did it?

The one who obeyed is Jesus Christ.  It's only by the obedience of Jesus Christ that holy spirit is available to us.  It's only by his obedience that we're made righteous.

Ok.  So if we're made righteous by the obedience of Jesus Christ, can we make ourselves righteous?  Of course not!  It's already been done for us.  Besides, we're not very good at obeying, anyway.

Romans 6:1-2:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

We don't need to sin for grace to abound.  Besides, if we're dead to sin, how can we live in it?

Romans 6:3-4:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We have a new life.  Why not walk in it and get the benefits of it?

Romans 6:5-6:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Our old man is crucified with him.  That's the state our old man is in.  It's not that our old man will be crucified with him.  It's not that our old man is being crucified with him.  It's that our old man is already crucified with him.  It's a done deal.

Romans 6:7-11:
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since we're dead with Christ, we're dead to sin.  But we also are raised with him and, therefore, alive unto God.  That's what's really true according to God.  That's how we're to think of ourselves - dead to sin, but alive to God because of what Jesus Christ did.

Romans 6:12-13:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Sin wants to command us, to order us around, to reign or rule over us.  But we're dead to sin.  So we are to obey sin about as much as a dead man can obey.  Instead, we give ourselves over to God and our members (hands, feet, mouths, brains) to righteousness.

Romans 6:14-16:
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Notice it says whoever you obey, you are his servant.  Whose servant do you want to be?

Romans 6:17-18:
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

We were servants of sin, but now we're servants of righteousness.  Make sense?

But now comes the problem.

Romans 7:14-15:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Ever been there?  What I do, I know isn't right.  What I want to do, I don't do; but what I hate, I do.

Romans 7:16-20:
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

I want to do good but I don't know how to do it.  Because the good that I want to do, I don't do, but the evil that I don't want to do, I do.  Therefore, it's not I that do it, but sin that lives in me.

Romans 7:21-23:
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Sin fights against my mind to bring me into captivity.

Romans 7:24-8:1:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

God is the One Who will deliver me from this dead body, by means of what Jesus Christ did.  So I serve God even though I still sin.  Because of that, there's no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Now how are we going to do that?  God just told us in Romans that the good we want to do, we don't do; and the evil we don't want to do, we do.  So how can we lay aside "the sin which doth so easily beset" us?

Let's read the next verse.

Hebrews 12:2-4:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

This is key:  We can lay aside every weight; we can lay aside every sin by looking unto Jesus and thinking what he was thinking, which was the joy of being raised up and seated at the right hand of God in a place of power and glory with no more sin, sickness, or death, and only the love of God reigning in everyone's life.  Think about what he went through.  We haven't yet resisted sin so much that our blood was shed.

James 1:17-18:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God, including our ability to walk with Him.  He begat us with His Word, not our thoughts and opinions, not emotions.  Of His Own Will, He begat us with His Word so we would be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1:19-20:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Because we are a kind of firstfruits, we need to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  Our anger can never bring about righteousness!

James 1:21-22:
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Because He begat us with His Word; because we are a kind of firstfruits; because our anger cannot bring about righteousness, we are to receive with meekness the Word.  It's called the "engrafted" Word because, in receiving it, it must be grafted into us like a shoot is grafted into a tree and becomes part of the tree and grows into a branch.

But notice it says we are to receive the Word, not our own thoughts, not our friends' opinions (or our own), not what the preacher says, not emotions, not our church's doctrine.  We are to receive the Word and receive it with meekness, acknowledging that the Word is right and our opinions are not.  And we are to be doers of the Word, not just hearers.

James 1:23-24:
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Here is the key, stated another way:  "If any be a hearer of the Word ..."  We behold ourselves (our new man) in the Word like a man beholds his face in a mirror.  The Word shows us what kind of men we were and what kind of men we now are.  If we forget what kind of men we are, new creations in Christ, we will not be able to do what the Word says.

James 1:25:
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

So, if we focus on the Word and don't forget what the Word tells us we are, we will be able to do what the Word says.  And when we do what the Word says, we will be blessed in what we do.

Ephesians 4:20-24:
But ye have not so learned Christ;
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Notice it says, "ye put off" and "ye put on."  Does God take sin out of our lives?  No!  Not if the Word's right.

According to God's Word here in Ephesians, we are to put off the old man and put on the new.  We are to do it!  God won't do it for us!  He tells us to do it!

How do we do it?  We've heard Christ and we've been taught by him by reading and studying God's Word.  So are we going to be forgetful hearers, or doers of the work?  Are we going to focus on our own thoughts, opinions, emotions, and desires?  On our friends' ideas?  On our church's doctrine?  Or are we going to focus on what the Word says?

Only by remembering what the Word says about us will we be able to put off the old man, put on the new man, do what the Word says, and be blessed in our deeds.

Better show you how it works.  Let's look in the mirror.  Let's look at some characteristics of believers.

Ephesians 4:25-32:
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Ok.  In verse 28, the Word says to give.  Therefore, we must be givers.  So you remember what manner, or what kind, of person you are, that you're a giver.  Then how can you steal when you're thinking about giving?

The Word tells us, in verse 29, to edify one another.  So you remember what kind of person you are, that you're an edifier.  Then how can corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth when you're trying to edify the person you're talking to?

See it?  When we remember what the Word says about us and think of ourselves that way, our lives change!

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.

Here's the key, stated again.  The verses before this are talking about a veil that's on the heart of some people when the Word is read.  Then it says, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass ..."  The glass (or mirror) is the Word.  We read and study the Word "with open face," ready to believe what it says and do what it says.

But notice it says, "beholding as in a glass."  What do you see in a mirror?  Yourself, of course!  When you look into the Word, you see yourself, both old man and new.  But are we to be looking at the old man or the new?

Notice it says, "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord."  We see the glory of the Lord as if it's a reflection of ourselves!  That's the new man!

So when we look into the Word and focus on the new man, "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:24), we're changed into that same image!  And, if you read the verse in its context, you'll find nothing else that we're required to do to make the change!

So when we look into the Word and focus on the new man, which is just like Christ, we're changed into that same image with no other effort on our part!

Wow!  That takes the pressure off!  That I can do!

Ephesians 2:11-22:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We were without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world.  But now we are made near by the blood of Christ, who is our peace, and who has reconciled us to God.  Now we have access to God; we're fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God; and we are all together a holy temple, a habitation of God.

When we look into the Word, focus on the new man (which is just like Christ), and remember what the Word says about us, we're changed into that same image and we can do what the Word says and walk with God!

By Jeffrey Moore, Southern California