- Keith Harris
Because He Came
I love babies. And we have some of the most beautiful babies in the world at WindSong. When you take a peek at those precious little ones as they wait patiently in their carriers while their parents talk to what must seem like giants to them, you can’t help but smile. Have you ever noticed the way adults act around babies? I’m probably the worst. Without fail, I lean in close to the little one, my eyebrows rise to the top of my forehead, my eyes open nearly as wide as my mouth…and I begin to make expressions and noises that surely are unintelligible. That being said, I remain firm in my confidence that the little babies understand exactly what I’m saying, even though everyone else (and at times even the babies) thinks I’ve lost my mind. But when we see babies, our faces tend to light up with joy. As they begin to grow, their faces begin to light up as they reciprocate our joy. With their faces glowing, they coo and smile back at us…well, at some of us.
I wonder if their reciprocity is in some small way the similar to what Moses experienced at Sinai. He longed to see God and requested that God grant him this desire. God informed Moses that “…you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:19). But God did grant Moses’ request and allowed him to see his back as he passed by. This glimpse of God’s glory made Moses’ face shine. His face was glowing so brightly that Aaron and the Israelites were afraid to come near him. Because of this, Moses covered his face with a veil (Exodus 34:29-35). Undoubtedly, this story is one of the most telling expressions of the majestic glory of God. His swiftly passing by the cleft of the rock, through which Moses caught a mere glimpse of the back of God, revealed a glory so magnificent that Moses required a veiled face before the people. Can you imagine what this must’ve been like? The people surely thought Moses had somehow experienced some great transformation while on the mountain. There was no questioning the fact that something was different about him. And there was…he had seen God…even if only God’s back…he had seen God.
It’s interesting to think about the seeming transformation of Moses as it relates to our own. While the ministry of Moses offered deliverance and a new life in the Land of Promise, it stands as but a shadow of the glorious ministry and new life we have in Christ today. Just as the covenants of the Old Law brought transformation, so we are being transformed. But our transformation in and through Christ is more splendid than often think or imagine. So, what’s the difference between then and now you may ask? What’s so splendid about our own transformation?
“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). In this context, Paul has just referenced the shining face of Moses. He explains that we have no need for a veil to cover our face. The truth is, we are being transformed into the same image (the image of Christ) with ever increasing glory. We have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Every human is endowed with the imago dei. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the created order. God created humanity in his own image. Our trouble today is that we often attempt to create God in our image. This stands in conflict with the creative work of God. If we are being intellectually honest, we will recognize that we truly have no choice in this aspect. A person cannot say, “I have decided that I am not created in the image of God.” We are all created in God’s image.
This week, many people will be traveling and gathering with family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Many churches will have special services where they will commemorate the advent of God coming in the flesh. Maybe more to the point, God sent his son…after all, as the argument goes, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7). God became flesh so that we might be redeemed, saved from our sins. His coming ushered in our adoption. We are heirs! What a wonderful blessing. Even more, God became flesh so that we might have an example to follow. Through Jesus, we are able to witness a life lived in service to others. Through Jesus, we are shown what obedience to God’s will looks like. Through Jesus, we are transformed.
The Bible teaches that God is at work in all things. Paul says, “we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). These are encouraging words to the child of God. Knowing how difficult this world is, knowing the tragedy, trouble and turmoil this life carries with it, it’s wonderful to know that God is at work. And he is at work within us. But the key to Romans 8:28 is found in the very next verse. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). Yes, God is at work in all things. Yes, God is at work within us. God is shaping and molding us into the image of his son. We were created in the image of God, but we have distorted that image with our selfishness and sin. God sent his son to the world to restore that image. Jesus stands as the great example of humble service to God and others. And we should seek to follow his lead (Philippians 2:5-8).
God created us in his image, sent his son into the world to save us and set an example, and God is transforming us into the likeness of his son. Our transformation is splendid because we have redemption and forgiveness which results in our eternal home with God. What a marvelous gift we have been given. Because he came, we have hope. Because he came, we have life. Because he came, we have peace. Because he came.