18 But 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
When a person looks into God’s Word and applies its principles to his experience, that sets the stage for genuine, terminal, and fundamental change.
are being transformed
The Greek word for “transformed” occurs only four times in the New Testament (Mt 17:2; Mark 9:2; Ro 12:2; and here). Matthew and Mark are parallel passages dealing with the Mount of Transfiguration experience. Romans 12:2 and here refer to an internal change of the entire person. The basic idea of the word “transformed” is to take on a different form. The Holy Spirit directs believers to Christ, whose image they reflect in a transformative way.
Christians who mature in Christ ever increase in the reflected glory of the Lord (2 Co 4:6). This is progressive sanctification. The Christian life should be a continual process of becoming more and more like Christ (1 Jn 3:2).
into the same image [likeness]
The “same image” is the image of Christ; that is, to become Christlike. Christians bear Christ’s name and identity (1 Co 15:49; Ro 8:29-30; 1 Jn 3:1f).
from glory to glory [ever-growing glory],
As Christians become more like Christ, they progress to greater degrees of His reflected glory. They manifest the glory of God more and more as they grow in Christ. It is an extended process. Christian growth is a continuous and progressive transformation whereby God changes them from one degree of glory to another. This growth allows us to more and more approximate the likeness of God expressed in Christ.
just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The removal of the veil (unveiled face) is a work of God the Spirit (2 Co 3:17). Transformation can come only by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit on the heart. The Holy Spirit’s ministry to the life of the Christian is the significant impact of the New Covenant. The transformation or growth of believers is wholly attributable to His work (Ro 8:1-7).
Christ gave the right to enter God’s presence for all believers.
The glory of God transforms Christians as they come to grips with the wonder of who He is. The Holy Spirit’s office is to glorify Christ by revealing who He is and what He has done to the Christian.
Transformation is more than superficial or artificial change. It is inherent, terminal conversion of a person into the progressive likeness of Christ. There is no cheap imitation here. It is gradual development of the glory of Christ in the Christian by God, by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Christian maturity is progressive. This is a movement ever closer to the likeness of Christ by biblical exposure to the magnitude of His person and work. This is the process whereby Christ is “formed” in the believer (Ga 4:19; Eph 4:13).
The Bible has a purifying effect as we read or study it. It will change and transform us. The Greek word for “transformed” is our word metamorphosis. It is like a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. Growth in grace moves us toward spiritual maturity (1 Pe 2:2; 2 Pe 1:5-17; 3:18; Jude 20). Remember what we were and what we are now. “I am not what I was.”
It is possible to decelerate our growth as Christians by neglecting the Bible. That closes the mouth of God and shuts out knowing our Lord as we should (Php 3:10). Our Lord Jesus Christ is the heart of the Word of God. We forget so easily.