Anglican Morning Devotion for 2 February 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“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.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25)
How often do we sneak a peek in the mirrors of our home to be sure that our outward appearance is proper for meeting the daily venue of friends and strangers? In the tale of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, the evil Queen, jealous of her beauty, would look into her magic mirror with the entreaty, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who in this land is the fairest of them all?” The mirror would always respond, “You, my Queen, are fairest of all.” Whether intended or not, this fairy tale is an illustration of the Church under Law versus the Church under Grace. The evil Queen, in her outward beauty, is much like the Pharisaic religion that our Lord encountered compared to the true Church under Grace depicted by Snow White whose beauty was not simply superficial, but sincerity of the heart.
The day came when the evil Queen looked in that mirror with her query and got an answer she could not abide: “You, my Queen, are the fairest here, it is true; But Little Snow White is still a thousand times fairer than you.” It was this statement that aroused a murderous jealousy in the heart of the old Queen much like that exhibited by the Jewish rulers toward Christ and His Church. Those who were trying to justify themselves under the terms of the law, and works of what they considered righteousness, were painted sepulchres of dead men’s bones decorated as gleaming white without and full of darkness and death within.
We need a looking glass that reveals more than the outward appearance to our mind’s eye. Almost every home in America is equipped with such a looking glass. It is the Holy Bible. The more we look into that glass the less darkly is the vision reflected; but we need to focus into that glass with unrelenting concentration. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Like an amateur artist concentrating on a masterpiece that he is copying, every tiny detail is important. The whole of the work is consumed in awe and admiration. The same is true of the Christian believer looking into the Word of God. The greater measure of it with which we fill our hearts, the more we will reflect the image presented therein.
When I peer into that Looking Glass of God’s Word, I see two images – one of myself, and the other of Christ. I see myself in Cain when my hate and jealousy is aroused for another. I see myself in Esau who traded off his inheritance in God to satisfy a temporary and worldly hunger. I see myself in Lot when I choose the attractions of the world over those of the Kingdom of God. I see myself in David when I attempt to cover one sin by another of greater gravity. I see myself in Judas when I betray the Lord by my selling Him out for the benefits of social acceptance or politics. For that image I see of myself in Scripture, there is no hope of salvation. But when I see the Woman taken in adultery, or the Woman at the Well, or Saul on the Damascus Road, I see an altogether different image. I see the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace and mercy. I see redeeming forgiveness and salvation for that other image. I see Barabbas set free from the prison of the soul, and grieving Peter beholding the risen Savior on the shores of Galilee. I see a crude wooden cross on the brow of Calvary and the One who knew no sin dying with the burdens of my own sin there.
The more steadfastly I behold that image of Christ, contrasted with my own failures and insufficiency, the more like Him does that image of myself appear. In the process of sanctification through the Word, the two images begin to merge together until, at last on the Last Day, we all of faith shall be like unto Him that died for us. We feed on Christ through His Word. We hide His Word in our hearts that, through our love and His grace, we might not sin against God.