So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
At the end of 2 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote about this great promise: for those who trust in Christ, understanding what God the Father has said about his Son, we receive the Holy Spirit and true freedom. For, “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (3:17). This is freedom from the bonds of sin and freedom to live a life pursuing the things that honor God.
But with this freedom comes an ever greater promise. The Spirit within us is transforming us to be more and more like Jesus. In 3:18 we see both sanctification and glorification at work. Glorification is the end aim, the state of the resurrected body (as Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15). It is the complete removal of every hint of corruption and stain of sin. It is the renewal of the bodies of followers of Jesus to be made perfect along with creation. It is a state of being where no temptation will ever cross our minds. In character we will be fully like our Savior.
We will perfectly bear his glorious image.
Sanctification is the process through this life that gets us to that point. It is our continued growth as we walk by the Spirit and pursue God through the Bible, prayer, and fellowship of Christian community. It is being made more like him—Jesus throughout the course of our lives. Other translations such as the ESV translate 3:18 with, “we…are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another,” this perhaps better explaining the idea of sanctification.
Our becoming like Jesus is a lifelong process. It’s guaranteed; glorification will happen for those who belong to Jesus, but each moment of breath we have left on earth is used by the Spirit for our transformation from rebellious sinner to fully devoted saint.
And so as we follow Jesus, the Spirit will continue to work in us day after day, year after year, until we have achieved that goal when we see Jesus face to face and stand on the new earth in perfect and glorified bodies.
This post is part of our ongoing journey throughout the Bible as a church.