Calvin’s great statement that our hearts our perpetual idol factories is undeniably true. I was thinking on this statement in relation to a verse I’ve been pondering on for quite a while:
2nd Corinthians 3:18 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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I know it doesn’t seem that these two ideas belong together, but in considering powerful truths I’ve been contemplating the relationship between these two.
I’ve been wondering about the seeing of God (we all beholding… are being transformed) being an essential pursuit of Christianity. I recognize the truths of our not coming to God until He first draws us and would subscribe to the logical implications of that verse and many more like it. I would even add that the "unveiled face" is more evidence of God’s work here because the veil simply cannot be removed by us, but only by Him. But then it occurred to me that in reference to the fall of Satan (which seems somewhat clouded and only lightly covered in Scripture) he (Satan) clearly saw God. This seeing of God didn’t change him. Rather he had likely always (as long has he had been in existence) seen the Glory of God. But at some point his heart departed from loving primarily and worshipping primarily God to loving and worshipping self (pride).
Thus we all, having been born after the fall and thereby in sin, begin life with a broken introverted focus instead of a correct God-verted focus. The worship of self is something that does not have to be taught to children, rather it is something that needs desperately to be untaught.
So my ponderings on the implications of 2nd Cor. 3:18 have finally run into what appears to be some (if not the) major foundation stone of God being delighted in, desired, adored, loved, worshipped, and appreciated. It is absolutely true that seeing God changes you (by seeing I mean understanding with our God given faculties - to behold His character and beauty). But this truth has limits. It is possible to see the glory of God and then have your heart turn from God worship to self-worship (taken from the example of Satan’s fall as well as that of Adam and Eve).
Exodus 3:20 (the first commandment) “You shall have no other gods before me” is a powerful and profound verse which continually overflows with implications for our lives. God, in His all-knowing, all-seeing kindness and wisdom tells us frankly what is best for us and what we were made for. We were not made in order to be worshippers of anything except our maker. That was the issue in the fall and that is the issue today.
I’m very grateful for 2nd Cor. 3:18 and I believe it too has great implications for us. I do think we should pursue seeing Him. But I think this should be done with the focus on God in Christ in order that the only outcome would be that we know Him more and love Him more. To keep our focus on primarily and ultimately on delighting in God, desiring Him, worshipping Him, enjoying Him, adoring Him, and loving Him - will accomplish a great many things not the least of which is effectively combating pride.