Transfigured Through the Liberation of the Spirit
This was the test and the proof and the challenge of the Holy Spirit's presence, and of the Holy Spirit's liberty to work. You see, the apostle says that here, just in a sentence earlier: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17). He is, of course, making a comparison, or a contrast, with the old dispensation of the Law - Moses coming down with the Law. There it was all compulsion; there it was all "you must" and "you must not"; bondage, thraldom, limitation, suppression, repression, and anxious fretful striving. Now, all that has gone, and the Holy Spirit comes and has His way. Moses, even, as representing that order of things, and that dispensation, had to put a veil over his face - not to hide the glory, but to hide the departure of the glory, and pretend, pretend - for you know it was a dispensation of pretending on the outside. That was what the Lord Jesus was up against in His day with the Scribes and Pharisees. He called them "hypocrites," that is, pretending something that was not true; it was all put on, on the outside. The glory that had gone was not seen through this veil of pretense.
But with Christ, says the apostle, all that has gone; the Spirit has come, and come within; now we are set free from all that sort of thing. When the Spirit is Lord, it is liberty; everything is spontaneous, it is free, it just happens. You do not have to make believe, strive, fret, worry, and suppress: it happens if the Holy Spirit is there. And what happens, what happens? The glory of the Lord - that is, the Perfection of His Manhood - begins, and continues, to express itself in us spontaneously. That is the "life of the Spirit." It is "normal Christian life"; there is something subnormal if it is not up to that, and something abnormal if you are putting on to that. But the "normal" is that the Holy Spirit, having His way, does this one thing: He makes Christ more and more manifest in our mortal bodies.
So that is the heart of this. Now, the point is that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. That helps us very much, that the Holy Spirit has taken the responsibility for this into His own hands. You and I have not to strive to be Christ-like. With all due respect for Thomas a Kempis, it is NOT an "imitation" of Christ - something that we try to do. It is this: to a true child of God, who is not putting something definitely in the way of the Holy Spirit, it is as natural to become more Christ-like, as it is to breath. Now, you do not stop to discuss the question of whether you are going to breath, how many more breaths you are going to take; whether you are going to breath now, or save it up till later on, and make a theory of it - you just do it without thinking. And it is as natural as that, because the Holy Spirit is our breath, our life. Set that over against the many difficulties that people find to be Christ-like!
(continued with # 24 - "Transfiguration Through Trials")