Book Club: “Counsel From the Cross” (by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Dennis E. Johnson) Reviewed by Gaila Roper Part 3

Chapter Two

Seeing Your Savior

“And 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

“Nothing that the world has to offer can change the human heart”, so says the author, Dennis E. Johnson of this chapter. Elyse usually identifies herself. Am pretty sure Dennis wrote this chapter on seeing the glory of God in the sanctification process. Does this interest in the desire to change imply some sort of dissatisfaction? For the Christian, yes, I would hope so. Dissatisfaction with the world, and with myself compels me to seek change. We see our sin, confess and repent. But if I focus too much on my shortcomings, I can subtly switch the focus from God to self. “We need to set our eyes on something beyond ourselves or our failures. We need to glimpse something that is more powerful. We need to see Jesus and the transforming glory of God.”

Beholding the Glory of God

The process of biblical change demands a better goal than self-made righteousness. Funny how easy it is to use God’s law, or achievements, prestige, namedropping, etc. to show that we have changed, or imply growth in godliness. No, we aren’t changed by gazing at our own glories, or the glories of other people. The Apostle Paul wanted the Corinthians “to know that the power to transform heart and life belongs to God and not to man”(2 Cor. 4:7-11; 13:4). “He knew that they weren’t going to be transformed by gazing at their own glories or the glory of any other mere human. He knew they wouldn’t progress in sanctification by observing their sin and failure…true transformation takes place: by beholding the glory of the Lord.” How do we do that? We see His glory in the  gospel.

The Glory – Displaying Gospel

As we look upon the face of Jesus we will see who he is, what he has done, who we are, and how we can change. By the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”(2 Cor. 4:4) is what changes our hearts. His grace shines this light into our hearts. It enables us to see Him, and transform us. God has provided the means to transform us within the local church. In Philippians 2:12,13 it says that believers are to work out continually what has been placed in. “It is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” But it is the Spirit who produces the fruit(John 15). It is God’s sovereign plan to make His church willing to live godly lives”(MacArthur’s notes on Philp 2:13). This is not a passive process where the Christian shows up for Baptism or the Lord’s Supper and goes through the motions without applying to his heart deep theological meaning.

By Gaila Roper

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