Friday, November 16, 2012

A vision correcting gospel

This is a fantastic excerpt by Jonathan K. Dodson from his book Gospel Centered Discipleship. Every sentence in this passage is worth contemplating. The Piperian paradigm of sanctification (Piper didn't invent it, but I first encountered it through him), beholding-is-becoming-ism, has become something that I find very helpful. In his book, Dodson formulates helpful discipleship issues and ideas along the same lines.

Only by looking to Jesus can our disfigured image be restored and our contemptuous disregard forgiven. When we look away from ourselves into the face of Christ, we behold "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). This gospel knowledge corrects our vision so that we not only behold but also become the image of the glory of God in Christ. True nobility and beauty converge in the image of Jesus.

It is a fundamental truth that we become what we behold. Children become like their parents; interns become like their mentors. If we behold the beauty of Christ, we become beautiful like Christ. While it is true that our first glance into the face of Christ restores our image (Rom. 5:1-2; 8:29-30), it is also true that we drift back into fashioning our own distorted image. We slip into our own distorted forms of masculinity and femininity. The gospel calls us back to look at Jesus over and over again. A disciple of Jesus is a person who so looks at Jesus that he or she actually begins to reflect his beauty in everyday life. The gospel gives us the eyes to Jesus as well as the power to look like him. It changes us into the image of his glory: "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 Cor. 3:18). This transformative vision comes from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18) ... gospel-centered disciples rely on the Spirit, who focuses our hearts' attention on Jesus, where beholding him results in becoming like him. This goal is worth fighting for.

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