And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)
This verse raises an important question. If we are being transformed into His likeness, what is He like?
1 John 4:8 says God is love. The Greek word John employs in this context is Agape, which means self for others love, or me for others, if you like. This is the opposite of Eros – self love. Agape gives without expecting anything in return. It’s always concerned with others. To the human mind its interest in others is absurd, and its generosity is outrageous. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul lists its various expressions:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
There was a period in my life where I thought this was the standard expected of me. However, this is a perfect description of God. Into this likeness I am being transformed when I’m with unveiled face see His glory.
When I was under the Law, and its commandments were my mirror, I was transformed into the likeness of the Law, which fruit is intolerance, rigidity, self-love, boasting, condemnation etc.
We humans also have this nasty inclination towards molding God into our image, and we become the image we have made or believe in, which doesn’t even have the remotest likeness of God.
The beauty of the above verse in that when I get to know God more intimately, and repent from my erroneous believes and perceptions of Him, and see Him as He truly is, I am being transformed into the same image by faith. Moreover, I come to understand that the fruit of the Spirit is His making – He expressing Himself as me when I rest from my own works acknowledging He is the Spirit.
(For a full exposition of the different aspects of love which Paul lists see Paul Anderson Walsh’ excellent and life giving book: Until Christ is Formed, which is book 1 in the Safe & Sound series)