However, Moses “used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away” (2Cor 3:13 NASB). Though truly marvelous, his was an old covenant, reflected glory. On this side of the empty tomb, the Lord has deposited His glory within us so that ours is a radiated, ever-increasing glory – “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27 NASB).
Contrary to that solemn, graveside pronouncement, “ashes to ashes and dust to dust,” “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” (2Cor 3:18 NASB). There is a huge difference between “I will be with you” and “I will be in you.”
Miraculously, the trajectory of a believer’s life spans from “glory to glory” as we are being progressively “transformed” (Greek “metamorphoo” from which we get our English word “metamorphosis”) into the image of Christ. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2Cor 4:16-17 NASB).
I’m pretty sure most of us would not put anything of great value in a piece of pottery that is easily broken. And yet God says “we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2Cor 4:7 ESV). What treasure? It’s the transforming glory of the gospel – “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2Cor 4:6 NASB).
But it’s kind of hard being a jar of clay in a world that tosses you around! “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2Cor 4:8-10 NASB).
These are words of personal experience that testify not only to our weaknesses, but also to God’s surpassing power! Herein lies the paradox of living as a believer in this fallen world. Though our jars crack, this only allows whatever our jar contains to be readily seen. For those who walk with Christ, the light of the glory of Jesus shines out through our brokenness.
Praise God for our fragile jars. And praise Him that though they crack and wear out from the Master’s use, these are but greater opportunities for His light to shine. Are the stresses of this world pressing down hard? Got any cracks or breaks in your jar?
© 2012 Tim McKenzie – www.OnEveryWord.com