Journal Entry for August 28th, 2006

Reading: 1 John 1-5
I have finished 8 months of my yearly Bible study ahead of schedule, and so have the luxury, these next few mornings, to read whatever the Lord prompts me to read before I move on to September’s readings. Praise God that he gets me up in the morning and removes the mental haze left from too little sleep.

The thought that has gripped me this morning has arisen from a group of texts that I was prompted to read by 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” So, Christ-likeness is engendered by seeing Christ. Presumably, the more (and more perfectly) we see Christ, the more Christ-like we will become. Perfect Christ-likeness will become us on the Last Day because only then will we see Him perfectly. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). When we see Him, finally, not dimly and imperfectly, but face to face and perfectly, “…We shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your victory?! O Death, where is your sting?!’” (1 Cor. 15:50-55). This is what ultimate Christ-likeness will look like, and what perfect Christ-beholding will create. What precious news this is for me, who groans everyday not only at the aching in my knees and ankles and back, but much more at the inclination of this body of death toward sin, its failure to think well, to act rightly, and to speak in grace-filled words.

Of course, this is not to say that imperfect Christ-beholding cannot produce significant changes in us—far from it. Paul writes, “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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18). So, I labor to see Christ in all his glory and perfections, that by beholding I may be changed. For, “Beholding is becoming. Seeing Christ saves and sanctifies. … Everything is at stake. There is no more important issue in life than seeing Jesus for who he really is and savoring what we see above all else”1—even in the knowledge that perfect beholding and ultimate change is a future hope, of which we have been given, in God’s boundless kindness, a blessed foretaste. Maranatha! Come soon!

[1] John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001), 16-17.

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