As the days draw shorter here in the northern hemisphere so the use of artificial lighting increases. Some luminaries or solar devices will illuminate our walkways to aid visitors as well as to give beauty in our barren landscapes of winter. But as each day returns so the lights of these will fade. That is the picture Paul painted for us as he explained the fading glory of the Old Covenant but in contrast the picture of the New Covenant’s increasing glory as the Spirit of the Living God takes up residence within us.
In chapter 3 Paul used the imagery of the veil and in chapter 4 he continues to use that same imagery but in a different vein. In chapter 3 we saw that the veil is over the hearts of those who minds are closed and chapter 4 the source of that closing is the enemy himself, Satan. He places that veil lest they, who are the perishing, might see the glorious gospel of Christ, the very image of God. However there is a promise in chapter 3 that when one turns to the Lord the veil over hearts and minds is removed and one can now see Christ in all of His glory. It is then that the transformation process of becoming more and more like Him begins and our “Jesus Light” emerges. We become His luminary to emit His Light to those who are perishing.
Now Paul reminds us that even though the veil has been lifted and we are becoming more like Christ, it is the inner man not the outer man that is being transformed. The outer man continues to decay and is frail and vulnerable. Yet we have this promise: He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust“ (Psalm 103:14) So although we are still an earthen vessel, having been formed from dust, yet within our hearts His light is shining. God as the Potter has taken us from the dust, removed our veil and filled us with the Spirit of the Living God to be molded and shaped by Him for one reason: to emit His Light to those whose minds are veiled by the master schemer and deceiver. It is this power we have within plus the Word of God that rends the veil and removes the shackles that bind. Too, we must also remember that the master deceiver seeks to diminish our light. Therefore we must put on the armor daily and say as John the Baptist: “Jesus Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Don Hoekster says: “God’s plan is to put extraordinary heavenly treasure into ordinary earthen vessels, so that the attention will go to the contents, not to the container: “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” How liberating and exciting to know that we are His to be used for His glory and to reveal His Light to those who are perishing!
The question thus for us this day is this: Am I a “Jesus Light” that penetrates the veil of the perishing?