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What do you see when you look in the mirror? The apostle Paul tells us that what we see in the mirror is not what we really are – we see only a poor reflection of ourselves. But God, on the other hand, sees us perfectly – and very differently from the way we see ourselves.
In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul explains it in these words: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
God knows us as we really are, as he has actually made us to be in Jesus Christ. But we have only an inkling of that – a poor reflection as in a mirror.
In Colossians 3:1-4, Paul goes further. He says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
When you look in the mirror, you probably don’t see the new you that is seated with Christ–sitting at the right hand of the Father. You see the struggling sinner that you know you are. But Paul says that we have died and have been raised with Christ, past tense, and that this new life we have in Christ is, for now, hidden. But when Christ appears, then we will appear with him as we really are, the way he has already made us to be in him.
This means that it is not up to us to get salvation, or even to get righteous or moral, or better. Throughout the New Testament, Paul admonishes us to behave righteously because we already are in Christ. He never tells us to behave righteously in order to get Christ to accept us. Jesus Christ died for us while were still sinners, Paul says in Romans 5:6. We were reconciled to God while we were still his enemies, he adds in verse 10.
To this end, the Holy Spirit works in us, leading us into the new life of love that God has given us in Christ — not to help us “measure up” or somehow “attain” salvation, but rather to help us learn how to be the new person that God has already made us to be in Christ. We are a new creation — already seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father.
So the next time you look in the mirror, take a moment to think about how God sees you. He sees you as his beloved child — forgiven, clean, reconciled and made new in Jesus Christ.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.