2 Cor 3:18 – “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.“
Excellent commentator John Gill discusses this verse this way:
But we all with open face
beholding as in a glass;
not of the law, but of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; not with the eyes of their bodies, but with the eyes of their understandings, with the eye of faith; which sight is spiritual, delightful, and very endearing; throws a veil over all other objects, and makes souls long to be with Christ: the object beheld is
the glory of the Lord;
Jesus Christ: not the glory of his human nature, which lies in its union to the Son of God, and in its names which it has by virtue of it; and in its being the curious workmanship of the Spirit of God, and so is pure and holy, and free from all sin; and was outwardly beautiful and glorious, and is so at the right hand of God, where we see him by faith, crowned with glory and honour; and shall behold him with the eyes of our bodies, and which will be fashioned like to his glorious body; but this sight and change are not yet: rather the glory of his divine nature is meant, which is essential and underived, the same with his Father’s; is ineffable, and incomprehensible; it appears in the perfections he is possessed of, and in the worship given to him; it was manifested in the doctrines taught, and in the miracles wrought by him; there were some breakings forth of this glory in his state of humiliation, and were beheld by the apostles, and other believers, who saw his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father.
Though the glory of Christ as Mediator, being full of grace and truth, seems to be chiefly designed; this he has from God, and had it from everlasting; this he gives to his people, and is what makes him so glorious, lovely, and desirable in their eye: and whilst this delightful object is beheld by them, they are
changed into the same image;
there was a divine image in man, in his first creation; this image was defaced by sin, and a different one took place; now in regeneration another distinct from them both is stamped, and this is the image of Christ; he himself is formed in the soul, his grace is wrought there; so that it is no wonder there is a likeness between them; which lies in righteousness and holiness, and shows itself in acts of grace, and a discharge of duty. The gradual motion of the change into this image is expressed by this phrase,
from glory to glory:
not from the glory of the law to the glory of the Gospel; or from the glory of Moses to the glory of Christ;
rather from the glory that is in Christ, to a glory derived in believers from him; or which seems most agreeable, from one degree of grace to another, grace here being signified by glory; or from glory begun here to glory perfect hereafter; when this image will be completed, both in soul and body; and the saints will be as perfectly like to Christ, as they are capable of, and see him as he is:
by the Lord of the Spirit,
I believe this verse says that as we look into Christ Jesus, we are thereby, over time, changed more and more into His image. At first, we are babes in Christ — have all the parts of a human, but just not fully grown. Studying about and meditating on Christ helps make us more and more like Him, and so it follows, the more this is done, the more it can occur, as the Holy Spirit works.
Puritan Thomas Manton, through his commentary on Isaiah 53, goes through a deep, discovering look at Christ, His sufferings, sacrifice and conquest, but in a very applicative way. Mr. Manton does not simply commentate on the scriptures themselves, but gives practical applications throughout, which I have found exalt Christ to greater levels, and help bring us to a more humble approach to Christ and living our lives.
I believe this study is such a critical one, and I would hope you would take the time to go through it.
It can be read here, but for those who prefer the audio medium, I have also recorded a reading of the entire treatise, and that can be found on our Thomas Manton Isaiah 53 Commentary readings page (see more audio readings at our Audio Readings of Christian Writings page).
Again, I hope you will take the time to go through it. May God guide our studies, may He grant us an increase in the knowledge and understanding of who He is and who we are, may He in our lives daily increase and we decrease, and may He mold us daily more and more into His image as we look into the Lord Christ Jesus and His glory!