Seeing in a Mirror Dimly
Not I But Christ
Ever had a family member or friend point something out about yourself that you thought no one else could know. Among those of us who believe all people on planet earth to be descendants of Adam, how well do we know ourselves? How well do we see ourselves?
According to Paul the Apostle, when writing to the Corinthian believers in chapter 13 and verse 12, he said. "For now we see in a mirror dimly (a riddle, an enigma, an obscure thing) but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."
Paul states in verse 13 that we do not fully know ourselves in this life. However, he goes on to say that a time is coming when we will come face to face with our judge and redeemer for those who have received Christ as Lord, and we will know fully. Nevertheless, Paul switches from the plural pronoun, "...now "WE" see in a mirror..." to the singular pronoun, "...then "I" will know fully..." This change should cause us to ask why? Is it because it will not be the same for everyone.
According to Greek experts, the expression "...as I have been fully known..." suggests the following. "Been known" is the passive form of epiginṓskō (aorist indicative, epegnōsthēn), indicating that the level we will experientially know (enjoy) God in eternity will "match" the level we were known by Him in this life. If this is an accurate rendering, we can conclude that Paul uses the word I to indicate that each person can expect to know God at an intimate level, corresponding to their willingness to be transparent.
As we would expect, it would appear that the Apostle John completely agrees with Paul. He opens the first paragraph of his letter by saying, "The life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us—" Those first disciples came to know Jesus who then sent them out as Apostles. He then tells us in verse 6, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." The one who walks in the dark also hides from the light and is unwilling to be seen for who he is.
God knows all things, we cannot hinder God from knowing us perfectly, but we can cut ourselves off from knowing Him. After one hundred years of preaching the love of God to the exclusion of the justice of God with power, we have to always ask ourselves, am I seeing God clearly? 1 Corinthians teaches us that some will be saved but as though by fire. That doesn't sound like a 21st-century God, but it is a scriptural God. Do we want to be flippant about 1 Corinthians 13:12?
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