In the Face of Christ

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Rembrandt’s “Young Jew as Christ”  Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lAW7jyXm1F8/TyMIBe9S6tI/AAAAAAAABIM/MdV6zFgVXck/s1600/Head+of+Christ++-+Berlin.jpg

Second Corinthians 4:1-6 says:

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God n the face of Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ–the Good News of Jesus Christ–is clear and plain. It is contrasted with the institutions of Moses, and particularly that the Christian ministry is more glorious than that of Moses. This ministry of the Gospel has been manifested by the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:7, 8 says:

But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

While Moses, after receiving the stone tablets with the commandments of God on them, had the glory of God upon his face, how much more glorious is this Good News of Jesus Christ because it is by the Holy Spirit that it is revealed. While the glory upon Moses’ face was fading, the glory of the Third Person of the Trinity does not nor will it ever fade. He is the One who manifests or illuminates those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the One who clearly opens our eyes to the righteousness that is imputed upon us, that is, placed upon us. Our sin is taken away by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away our sins, and it is His righteousness that is placed upon us. Second Corinthians 3:9 says:

For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.

The ministry of condemnation–God’s judgment–has glory because His condemnation of sinners is holy, righteous, and just. Although people generally do not like to hear that, it can be no other way. It can be no other way because God is perfectly holy and we are not. The Bible is clear in Romans 3:10, 23:

There is none righteous, no not one….For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

There is no one who is found to have any holiness or righteousness in himself. His own self-righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord (cf. Isaiah 64:6). And no one is able to come to the saving knowledge of the Good News of Jesus Christ apart from the manifestation by the Holy Spirit because of our sinful state. And it is because of this sinful state that we are blinded–that our eyes are veiled, as it were–to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So Paul the apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

He is the One–the Holy Spirit is the One–who unveils and enlightens those of us who believe in this Good News, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe because He is the One by His grace that gives us the faith (cf. Ephesians 2:8, 9). And in this unveiling He is also the One who is changing us, transforming us, from “glory to glory” so that we might be “transformed into the same image” as Jesus Christ.

Now all of us who have received the Good News of Jesus Christ unto salvation, have been entrusted with a ministry. It is the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not just vocational ministers who have been entrusted with this treasure, but it is every believer that has been given this ministry. The question I ask is, “What are you doing with the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you keeping it to yourself or are you sharing it with others so that the Holy Spirit might illuminate their darkened hearts to believe in the Second Person of the Trinity–Jesus Christ–unto salvation?”

These questions are answered when we discover whether or not we have a high or low view of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle has a high view of the Good News of Jesus Christ when he writes in 1 Corinthians 3:5:

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

It is not a matter of the eloquence with which we speak or “perform,” but it is the opportunity that the Lord has entrusted to us to share this Good News with others. And it is precisely because we have received mercy from Him. Paul is clear in 2 Corinthians 4:1 that the reception of this mercy causes him “not to lose heart” but to take serious this treasure with which he has been entrusted. He is so serious about it that he does not keep it hidden but spreads its seed as often as he has opportunity, and according to the Scriptures, it was often that he shared this treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. And why is this? Second Corinthians 4:16 says:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

It is being renewed daily by this Gospel–this Good News! This preserved Paul the apostle from deceit and all improper acts and made him open and honest. This is what the transforming power of the Gospel does in the hearts and minds of those who believe. So his character could be commended to others as being sincere, that is, without wax. It means that he could come to any man declaring with holiness and righteousness that is imputed upon him, that he is being truthful and honest about this transforming power. This is why Paul the apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 2:17:

For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

He understands that when he speaks, when he shares the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, he is speaking as unto God Himself because it is in His sight that He speaks.

Paul knows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is clear, open, plain, glorious, and can be understood. However, he also understands that it is not the fault of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that people are lost. Second Corinthians 3:14-16 says:

But their minds were hardened for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlisted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

The Gospel s not clear to those to whom it is veiled by the god of this world. They are unbelieving. To them, according to 1 Corinthians 1:18, this Good News is foolishness:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

They are blinded to the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are blinded to the glory of Christ, who is the very image of God. Hebrews 1:3, 4 says:

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

When one is enlightened to the glory of Christ and to the Good News that He died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised according to the Scripture, and all who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life, then they see this radiant Source of life everlasting. Then they see His saving grace as the One who has “made purification of sins.” Then they will see that it is by His name and only His name that all men must be saved (cf. Acts 4:12).

So we, too, make this glorious truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ clearly known. We do not preach ourselves, but we preach Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised again according to the Scriptures. Paul even says in 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 6:

For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness–nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.

The purpose of Paul and his colleagues had the purpose of making known how clear this glorious truth of the Gospel truly is. Even Peter the apostle writes in 2 Peter 1:17-19:

For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”–and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

They preached Jesus Christ as the Revealer and source of all glory. Their sole object is to show forth this pure and Glorious Light of the Gospel which is Jesus Christ and none other. Paul and his colleagues desire to make Jesus Christ known and to make His message known–not themselves. And it is this very message that Paul understands to be the power of God and not the power of us. He writes in Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

It is God that has committed this treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels like Paul–like you and me–like all who have believed in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though we are frail, God has committed the Good News to us. Even though we are weak, God has committed the Good News to us. Even though we are dying men, God has committed the Good News to us. Even though we are humbled, God has committed the Gospel to us. He has called each of us to manifest Jesus Christ in every facet of our lives. Whether we face trials or tribulations or persecutions, poverty, peril, want, humility in various circumstances, we do not lose heart but we preach Jesus Christ as the One who has died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised according to the Scriptures, and anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life and forgiveness of sins.

So we ask you now, have you believed? Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior? Have you believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? If you have not, then today is the day of salvation. Yesterday is already spent and the Bible teaches us that we are not promised tomorrow (cf. Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-16). The Bible teaches us that today is the day of salvation (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2). If you have not trusted the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you can right now. You can pray a prayer something like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, today I come to You, asking You to forgive me of my sins. I ask that You would come and live in me and that you give me everlasting life. You say in Your Word that today is the day of salvation, so today I ask You to save me by Your name. Thank You for saving me. Amen.

If you prayed that simple prayer, believing the Good News of Jesus Christ, I say, “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! The Maker of Heaven and Earth who has saved yet another soul!” Now, share this treasure that you have received! Tell someone else how they can know that their sins have been forgiven by the One who died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised according to the Scriptures. And you will shine the Light in the darkness.

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Published by D.J. Gorena

Follower of Jesus Christ, husband, dad, pastor, and twinless twin.

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