“we all… are being transformed
into the same image from one degree of glory to another”
(2 Cor 3:18 (ESV))

There is, in computer programming jargon, the following phrase “WYSIWYG,” pronounced “whiziwhig.”  It is an acronym for the term, “What You See is What You Get.”  I use a website program in WYSIWYG.  Rather than having to learn the website programing code HTML, I can simply place objects, pictures, text and links onto a page, and the program converts what I’ve done into the appropriate code, and it gets posted online exactly as I designed it (usually).  WYSIWYG is a great help, I figure knowing Biblical Greek and Hebrew and a few words in broken Spanish is all the language  training I need.

There is a Biblical truth that lies at the heart of the idea of WYSIWYG.  We might call it WYWIWIB – What You Worship is What You Become.  Think about this with me for a minute.

That which is most important to you, that which is at the center of your life, that which you worship (whether you call it worship or not), will shape and define who and what you become. 

If the most important thing in your life is finding financial security, wealth, and the accumulation of power, that will shape the decisions you make, the goals you set, and the way your treat others.  Your essential question in every situation will be along the lines of, “How does this benefit me; what can I can from this relationship?”

If you believe that the greatest truth in this life is found in the teachings of science, and particularly, evolutionary science, that will shape the decisions you make and how you treat those around you.  If we are all here by chance, and only the strongest survive and thrive, then compassion for the weak is only a luxury, self-preservation is the greatest good, and, since there is no afterlife (since there is no God who created life) all that matters in life is what you experience here and now.

But if we believe that we are created by a holy, sovereign, and gracious God, that too will shape who and what we become.  If we believe that there is a God at the center of the universe, a God who is the foundation of all life, then that God will also be the center of our lives, the foundation of our ethic and our experience.  Hughes Oliphant Old, dean of the Institute for Worship at Erskine College, once wrote “Those who worship the holy God become through that worship holy themselves.  When we worship, having our minds enlightened by the Spirit, our lives cleansed by the Spirit, our wills moved by the Spirit, and our hearts warmed by the Spirit, then our worship is transformed from being a mere human work into being a divine work.”  Worship is the workshop where we are transformed into the image of God.

I think this is at the heart of what Paul is saying in 2 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.”

Who are you becoming?  Are you growing in the likeness of Christ, being transformed into his image, maturing in the work of the Spirit?  Or are you becoming more and more like the world around you, blending in with the tone and temper of the fallen world?  Answering this question will begin to show you who or what is at the heart of your worship.

May you become more like Him who has made you!


On Humanity

Continuing along the “Brief Statements of Faith,” I turn now to a statement on Humanity.

The Bible teaches that human beings were created in the image of God, not that they emerged through the millennia by process of natural selection and evolution.  Instead, humanity was created in the image of God, as the crown jewel of creation, given blessing and charge by God to be fruitful and multiply, to have dominion over all the earth.  As the Psalmist says, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4–5(ESV).  Created and blessed by God, our first parents enjoyed communion with God and lived for God’s glory as they obeyed His Word.

Still, when tempted by the questioning of God’s Word, Adam and Eve defied God’s commandment and chose to be gods for themselves, placing themselves in the center of creation.  Because of their willful disobedience, sin and death entered into the human heart, and yet we reenact that original sin every time we disobey God.  The corruption of sin is so complete and pervasive that humanity is now broken, no longer living for the glory of God and the joy of His presence.  We choose darkness over light, the momentary pleasures of sin over the eternal blessing of righteousness – “none is righteous, no not one… for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).

There exists now a great divide between God and all of humanity.  Our sinfulness prevents us from entering into and joyfully celebrating the glory of God.  Our most righteous efforts to atone for our sins are still laced with sin, the price for our redemption is more than we could ever pay, it is beyond our ability to save ourselves.  Sin’s stain touches everything we do, it is destructive, contagious, polluting, and deadly.  We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.

As such, we stand before our God, who is holy and just, condemned in our sin.  We owe to God a debt we cannot pay.  Humanity needs a savior.