What we normally read:
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of The Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory into glory, just as by the Spirit of The Lord.” 2 corinthians 3:18 NKJB
What I found in the Greek:
“And we all with unveiled face, reflecting the same image of the glory of The Lord, are changed from glory into glory as from the Lord’s Spirit.” Personal Translation
The scripture above is where I ended my workshop at the Elim Women’s Area Conference on this past Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon (taught same material twice). My topic was “Transformation,” so we examined briefly all the four places the Greek word is used in the New Testament. As I studied the 2 Corinthians 3:18 one above, I discovered that it did not really say what I had always taught, so back to the drawing board I went. I enjoyed my time of digging, and the personal translation above was what I found.
The entire passage is not about a process but an action that was accomplished by our Lord Jesus. The context of the passage above tells of the glory of the Old Covenant of Law. Then it talks about the veil of unbelief that is over the eyes of those who are “law-keeper;” believing that in their action and progress things are occurring to make them more and more like Him. Quite the opposite is revealed in 3:18. In Christ our face is unveiled and we are empowered to “see” and to “believe.” We enter into a relationship of sonship with Almighty God through Christ our Lord and instantiously become as He is. (1 John 4:17). As Christ was instantly transfigured before the apostles in Matthew 17 and Mark 9, we are instantly changed (transformed) into that same image by the Spirit of the Lord.
Our learning to live out His life, His love, His nature within us is all a progression. But the action of it has already occurred within us. As we learn to see ourselves as reflecting that same image, then we begin to take our place in the New Covenant as inheritors and begin to trust the Lord much more than our own efforts in becoming. So in His work, as we receive its fullness, we are empowered to live it out in reality. We do not get any more perfect that when we were first “born from above.” Just like when our children are born. They do not get any more perfect as they grow up and learn to live out the family life-style and heritage. They just understand how and become capable of doing so as they grow. So we are like that in the Spirit. We are perfect, completed in Him, because of Him and Him alone. As we trust and grow, we begin to reflect that image and soon we begin to take the confidence that gives us. We reflect Him. Much like our children reflect us.
We then leave the glory of the old (spoken about earlier in the text) and begin to reflect the massive “glory” of our Lord and His nature. (John 17:22 – He gave us His glory). So our going from “glory to glory” is also very different than I had thought. Oh the Lord is so good to let us see these things!