The next passage I want us to consider is 2 Corinthians 3:18. For all its profound depth, it is expressed quite simply, and boils down to one simple question. When you look into a mirror, what do you see? You see yourself. Simple. But the Apostle Paul takes that simple fact one step further.
The New American Standard Bible, considered by many to be the most literal translation available, renders the verse like this.
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 from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB)
The New Revised Standard Version renders verse 18 very similarly.
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Thus, when we look into the spiritual mirror and see ourselves, we are seeing God’s glory. We are the glory of God. This is a reality that must be contemplated, thought about, but words are inadequate to express its meaning. I can talk around it a bit, as many students of the Bible have for centuries, but what it means for you can only be discerned by you.
People often say they don’t “feel” the presence of God in their lives. They wonder whether or not God exists. Often they use the word “doubt” in describing these feelings and questions.
Ultimately, the thesis of this book is that, according to Scripture, you are the presence of God on the planet. God is not some being distant from us, across an unbridgeable chasm. We don’t pray to a God who lives up in heaven somewhere, up in the sky. Even the idea that God dwells in us is only partially complete.
According to 2 Corinthians 3:8, as we behold, or “see” the glory of God reflected back at us in this spiritual mirror, we are being transformed to increasing degrees of glory. You could say that the more you contemplate the spiritual reality of being the glory of God, the more that reality becomes a reality in your life and consciousness.
The veil referred to above is the veil that prevents us from perceiving spiritual reality, and refers to the story of Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai. His face shined with such a bright glow that the Hebrews were unable to look at his face. Moses reportedly continued to wear the veil to prevent the Jews from perceiving the fact that the glow had faded.
While this background information is important in understanding that the veil hides the fact of the presence of God, we must not get bogged down in it. We need to abide in the spiritual truth that when we contemplate or behold as in a mirror the glory of God, it is we ourselves who are that glory, that radiance of God.