2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV84) And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Is my face veiled or unveiled?
Why would we have veiled faces? This verse is referencing when Moses came down from God’s glory on the mountain and the people couldn’t handle the brightness of God’s glory on his face so they veiled him in their presence and then he unveiled himself when he came into God’s presence.
As this image runs over in my mind this morning, let me just “rif” for a minute on where my thoughts are.
Why do we have veiled faces?
First thought is that of a bride whose face is unveiled when she is pronounced married and prepares to kiss her groom. We, those in the number of the redeemed, those who have believed in Christ, left our own way, embraced him as Lord, have unveiled faces. That moment when we received him, John 1:12, were given the right to become his children, but we also became part of the Bride of Christ. And so, Ephesians 1:13, when we heard and believed, we were included in Christ and given the Holy Spirit. So, as we received him as Lord, believing in our hearts, confessing with our mouths, Romans 10:9-10, we became the Bride. Oh yes, he knows who will truly receive him and they are the promised Bride, but every Bride has to move from promise to possession, with the confession of “I Do.” Then we are proclaimed HIS, and the veil is lifted and as we kiss toward him, he kisses toward us, and we are his Bride with unveiled face. Oh what a beautiful picture.
Another image is that of veiling because of shame. We don’t want to be counted among the openly wedded bride of Christ, we are ashamed of his name and so we cover our faces. We all, perhaps, at sometime have been guilty of doing what Peter did in the Garden when they asked “aren’t you one of his disciples?” And we, veil our faces, and say, “no you are mistaken, I am not his, I am just a guy like you.” What a shameful thing, at the coffee pot at work, or in the marketplace, or on the ballfield, or in the neighborhood, to veil his glory within us and say, “no I am not one of his.” The truth is, if we belong to Christ, we can’t really hide it, the world can see the glory peeking around the veil, we can change our talk, call down curses, but we protest too much, they know it, we know it, but there we stand with pretend veiled faces.
Another similar reason for veiled faces is when we are out of fellowship with Christ, and we veil our actions, hide ourselves and hope he won’t notice. Like Adam and Eve, in clear disobedience to the instruction of God, they ate the forbidden fruit, and then tried to cover their nakedness, and they hid in the garden amongst the trees, when it was time to walk with God. Oh we are often so guilty of the same aren’t we? When we sin, though a child of God, we need not try and clothe ourselves, for no clothes will do, save clothing ourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ. But we try, and we hide, and we hope Jesus won’t come by today, we hope the Holy Spirit was looking the other way, we hope the Father’s love will cause him to overlook it. But we know, like Adam, God will say, “Where are you?” It is not that God did not know, he was saying, “where are you supposed to be, come here, you are naked, let me clothe you.” And the wonderful truth for the forgiven child of God, sadly trying to cover their sin, with a homemade bandage, is that, 1 John 1:9, If we but simply confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgiven us and cleanse us, to allow us to walk with unveiled faces again. Why? Because it is already provided in the cross, we just need to walk in it. Oh don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you that 1 John isn’t written to the church, the bride, because John calls himself “The Elder” or “Pastor” he is not writing to a lost world, he is writing to the redeemed, the Bride, and this promise is for every repentant one, but it is particularly written to the church.
Aother simple reason why our face is veiled, is already insinuated, and that is because one has never confessed Christ as Lord, believing in their heart that God raised him from the dead, Romans 10:9-10, they have never called on the name of the Lord for salvation, Romans 10:13. But you need not have a veiled face, the offer to be his bride is for you too. For every movie, or story ever written that found an attendant in the wedding, or a face in the crowd, that wished, hoped that they could take the place of the one being married, there is GOOD NEWS, the offer is for you too! As you hear the promises of love and provision, as you hear the officiant say “do you promise to love and obey, will you receive this ring?” All we must say is “yes, I Do!” And we become part of the Bride, faces unveiled, God’s great glory of redemption, and forgiveness, cleansing and restoration, is ours. Only Believe, only receive.
And so as I look back at the text, I thought of one more reason we veil our own faces, it is because, we don’t like what we see under the veil. We think, “I am not pretty enough, not handsome enough, and I have imperfections, so I must veil my face.” Oh and there the verse rings out the blessed truth …
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
There it is, we … all of the Bride, faces unveiled, are perfect within, but the outside still needs work. But the work is being done. when my face is unveiled, it is not me they see, but the glory of my Savior who loved me, chose me, called me, he loves me exactly as I am, but loves me TOO MUCH to LEAVE me this way. As I allow my face to be unveiled, he is, moment by moment, day by day, TRANSFORMING ME into HIS Likeness, with Ever-increasing glory. Oh I might not notice it from this moment to the next, but I can see a glimmer of it from this day to the next. I can seen an inkling of his this year to the next. Oh Christ in me IS the hope of the glorification. It IS what I have been predestined to. What is God causing all things to work together for in Romans 8:28? It is revealed in Romans 8:29, those he forknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ! Hallelujah there is it! Everything in my life is being used by Christ, because he loves me, because he knew I would be his, he is shaping and forming me so that my unveiled face will look like Jesus. So Romans 8:30 says those he predestined he called … justified … glorified. When I said “I Do” and he unveiled my face, and in worship I kiss toward him and he toward me, I am being transformed moment by moment, day by day, with ever-increasing glory. Ever single day, my unveiled face looking to him, shines his glory a little more, until that moment when I step into Gloryland and look and find that I look like JESUS !
“Oh how pastor, how can this be true for me … I can’t do that”?
You are right child you can’t, but remember this comes from the Lord, who is Spirit. The Lord Jesus is at work in you, and that is the hope, he has placed his Spirit in you to teach you, and remind you of all he has said. He is the one who has promised to make you look like Jesus. He is always a promise keeper, so take his hand, say “I do”, throw back the veil and see his glory revealed with ever-increasing glory.
Oh, there has been many a night camping, or early morning on the water fishing, when I began to see a slight glow in the eastern sky. It still looked like night, it certainly didn’t look like noon day, but the glow let me know something was happening. My experience told me that it would not always be night, and so the light came, with ever-increasing glory, the dawn came, with ever-increasing light, and eventually the glory of the noon-day sun filled the sky. So it is fellow-traveler, so it is that …
… we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18