BEHOLDING AND REFLECTING TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST
Verses 17 and 18 of chapter three say, “And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” The better translators agree that the Greek word here for beholding needs another verb. Some versions use the word beholding, while others indicate the meaning of reflecting. However, the Greek word conveys the meaning of beholding for reflecting. Therefore, we must add a second verb, reflecting, so as to read “beholding to reflect” or “beholding and reflecting.” If we put these two terms together, we have the proper meaning of the Greek word.
Verse 18 says that we behold and reflect not “in” a mirror but “like” a mirror, since we ourselves are the mirrors. Like mirrors, we behold and reflect with an open, unveiled face. If there is a veil covering our face, we do not have an open face, but now the veil is taken away. We have an unveiled face like a mirror without any covering that can behold its subject and reflect it. When a mirror beholds a person, that person is in the mirror, and the mirror reflects that person. There is no need to see this person directly because we can see him in the mirror; the mirror reflects him by beholding him. Formerly, the people of Israel had a veil. With us, however, the veil is now gone, so nothing covers us. We are a mirror with an unveiled, uncovered face looking at Christ and beholding Him. The more we behold Him, the more we reflect Him.
Verse 18 continues to say that we are being transformed into the image of Christ. The King James Version renders this word as changed, which is too poor. This is the same word translated as transformed in Romans 12:2. By our beholding to reflect Christ we are transformed into the same image, that is, Christ’s image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit. To begin with, there may be no image in a mirror. However, the more a mirror beholds a certain person, the more that person’s image is in the mirror. In this way the mirror is transformed into that image. As the mirrors, we originally beheld something other than Christ, but that has been done away with by Christ’s redemption. Now as mirrors we are free and unveiled to behold Christ, and the more we behold Christ, the more His image is impressed into us. In this way, we are transformed into the image of Christ.
The real ministry of life is to help people realize how to behold Christ in an unveiled way as the mirrors and be transformed into His image. The more we behold Him, the more we reflect Him and are transformed into His image. If a mirror beholds a person for merely half a minute, not much of that person will be reflected in the mirror. The longer we as the mirrors behold Christ, the more we are transformed into His image to become a full reflection of His image. This is not a matter of gift, teaching, or knowledge. This is a matter of the living ministry of life.
We need to be dealt with by the Lord. Then we will know how to help others to be dealt with by Him, how to put off their veils, and how to turn their heart. They will be right with Christ, and they will know how to look to Him, behold Him, and have direct fellowship with Him without any kind of frustration. They will be transformed progressively into the image of Christ to be a genuine and full reflection of Christ. This is the fruit of the work of the living ministry of life. This is a work which gifts, knowledge, and teaching can never accomplish.
This kind of work can be accomplished only by the living ministry of life, which comes from the work of the cross and from the living Christ being wrought into us. By the working of the cross and the living Christ being wrought into us, we have the ministry and we become the ministry. It is by this living ministry that people are helped to become unveiled mirrors to behold and reflect Christ and be transformed into His image. This is not merely the passing on to others of objective knowledge. It is something very living and very subjective ministered to others in spirit by the work of the cross.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)