By Stefan Bomberger
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
Last month we wrapped up our three-week teaching series, “Imago Dei: Why Image Matters.” It was a brief series on the Image of God. We learned how all humans are created in the image of God (Week 1), how that image was distorted at the Fall (Week 2), and how this image is renewed in Christ (Week 3). For this blog entry, I will reiterate a key-point from the final message, “Image Renewed.” It’s clear from 2 Corinthian 3:18 that it’s by beholding the glory of Christ, that we’re transformed into the image of Christ, “who is the image of God” (4:4). This verse gives us the spiritual key to unlock our image renewal – beholding Christ’s glory!
This verse also suggests a broader spiritual principle of transformation, for good or for evil, which is: “what we behold is what we become.” What we watch, study, meditate upon, gaze upon – it changes us. Said another way: “we become what we worship.” What is worshiped shapes and reforms the image of the worshiper into the likeness of the object worshiped. That’s why worshiping and beholding Christ is so essential to our image renewal. It’s also why idolatry, worshiping things other than God, is such a terrible sin. Certainly, it redirects worship that God alone deserves. But secondarily, it corrupts the image of the worshiper. Idolatry corrupts you to the core.
Romans 1 makes this abundantly clear. It describes how, when we give up the glory of the Creator in exchange for created things, it ignites evil, dishonorable passions within us (vv. 21-32). This concept certainly isn’t unique to the Apostle Paul’s writings. For example, the LORD says in Jeremiah 2:5, the Israelites, “went after worthlessness, and became worthless.” In 2 Kings 17:15 God’s indictment is, “They went after false idols and became false.” Do you see it? We become what we worship.
This means, if you worship money, you will become greedy. If you worship pornography, you will become perverted. If you worship your reputation, you will become an egomaniac. If you worship a god of another religion, you will be changed into the likeness of that false god. Throughout the Bible, idols are repeatedly described as deaf, dumb, mute, blind. It’s not coincidental that we, in our fallen state, are described in the very same terms! We become what we worship.
This is important to recognize, because it reveals both the problem and the ultimate solution to our image renewal. On the most fundamental level our image-problem is a worship-problem. That’s why, when we worship Christ – when we gaze upon his beauty – when we behold Him in all his glory – we experience renewal. Christ is the perfect image of God. By beholding Christ, we exchange false images for the true likeness of our Creator! By beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another!