The Apostle Paul’s description of God’s grace in his salvation, in 2 Corinthians 4, reveals a most significant truth about what our souls need. We need to see and know God’s glory through and in Christ.
Believing, hoping, and trusting in God have everything to do with perceiving in Him goodness, worth, majesty, excellence, capacity, holiness, beauty, mercy. And, of course, not all regard God or His Gospel as glorious. Pauls’ words in 2 Corinthians 4 are especially helpful, because he reflects first on those among his own kinsmen who were not perceiving the GOOD NEWS as good. In chapter 3, Paul affirmed that, yes, God had shown himself glorious at Mt. Sinai. God had delivered His LAW…
2 Corinthians 3:7 …with such, glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' f ace because of its glory...
But as Paul compared the function and impact of the LAW, which he called a “ministry of death” with the ministry of the Spirit and Gospel, a ministry of life, of conferred righteousness, of freedom and transformation, he held out before them a surpassing glory.
But some were not seeing it.
Even though the very word of God through Moses was being read always in their synagogues, Paul described them like this:
2 Corinthians 3:15 … a veil lies over their hearts.
The Apostle went on to say…
2 Corinthians 4:4 …the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
And here is where the wording touches what is so helpful. What was it that Satan sought to prevent them from seeing? Christ’s glory, which is good news. Christ’s glory was real and objective, seen or not. To hope in it required seeing it, tasting and perceiving Christ’s grace and worth and the goodness of His good message.
In Paul’s own life, and perhaps especially because there had been a very significant season during which he had been blind to it, he described God’s grace with these words…
2 Corinthians 4:6 … God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
What is your own perception of God? Do you find Him glorious through and in the Lord Jesus? And isn’t that what we need for salvation and for all the walk of faith? For repentance. For humility with hope. For worship. For stability. For courage. For perseverance. For gentleness. For faith’s endeavor. For generosity. For compassion. For mercy and forgiveness. For purity. We must taste and sense His glory if we are to glorify Him.
God Himself is the One who must turn that light on, and He is willing.
Have you every had the experience of learning to appreciate something that was worthy but previously unappreciated? I realize that the made-up illustration that follows is a bit extreme, but I hope it shows something I’m trying to describe. (Please know also that I’m not trying to take a potshot at youth.)
Let’s picture a young man who has never seen the Grand Canyon. In this hypothetical story, his parents have wanted to plan a trip to that magnificent place for family memories, but upon announcing it, they receive from him little more than a sigh. It proved hard for him to picture that the ten-hour drive to that big hole in the ground would yield much in the way of interest, and he couldn’t imagine that the KOA campground near Flagstaff would have any kind of half-decent internet access. Upon arrival, though, the connection showed itself to be reasonable, and he engaged his gaming friends as usual late into the night.
Next morning, as his folks were packing up the car for the remaining hour-and-a-half trip on up to the canyon rim, he exhibited little enthusiasm. Why couldn’t they just stay there and enjoy the campground? What if, through virtually the whole of the drive, he sat droopy and sullen, disappointed that his phone would not pick up any music out in the middle of nowhere. What would be the cause? Wouldn’t it have something to do with being unacquainted with the glory of that place?
And what if, upon arrival at the edge, his eyes began to brighten? What if there were a near gasp upon the first straight-down looks into the precipice? What if the beauty of the colors of the sun-bathed red rock began to sink in and sustain long looks? What if his parents had bought even the tickets to walk the Skywalk, the glass horseshoe-bridge that goes out about 70 feet from the cliff edge, 4,000 feet above the canyon floor! What if, as dusk came, it proved very hard to convince him to return to the campground? What would have made that difference? A TASTE OF GLORY.
I’m certain that’s what my soul needs for my relationship with God – that I would become ever more acquainted with His goodness.