Two-Faced Christians

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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Our month January is named after Janus, the mythical Roman god of gates and doorways. Janus had two faces which looked in opposite directions, just as January looks back on the old year and forward to the new. Hypocritical people are often called “Janus-faced” or two-faced. Abraham Lincoln, not known for his good looks, was once called Janus-faced. He responded, “If I had two faces, do you think I’d wear this one?”

We can avoid being Janus-faced spiritually by putting off the old man and putting on the new man (Eph. 4:22-24). But many Christians find this difficult. Some feel they could more easily muster up the spiritual fortitude to live a consistent Christian life if they could just speak to the Lord “face to face” on a daily basis, as did Moses (Ex. 33:11). This blessing is of course not available to us during this dispensation—or is it?

When Paul told the Corinthians that one day they too would see the Lord “face to face” (I Cor. 13:12), he spoke not of the day when they would see His face in heaven, but of a face-to-face relationship with the Lord that they actually lived to see and enjoy. You see, as Paul wrote these words the Bible was not yet complete. Consequently, men were able to see God only as “through a glass, darkly.” The crude glass of ancient days gave men an unclear view of what was on the other side.

It reminds me of how before the launch of satellite telescopes, Earth-based telescopes labored under the limitation of having to peer at the stars through the earth’s atmosphere, which distorted man’s view of the heavens. One scientist likened it to bird-watching from the bottom of a lake! But the launch and perfecting of the Hubble telescope gave science a crystal clear image of Creation.

In much the same way, the addition of Paul’s last epistles completed the Word of God (Col. 1:25), and launched our understanding into the heavens (Eph. 1:3). Now as we look into the pages of God’s completed revelation, we are able to see God Himself “face to face.”

Paul used yet another metaphor to drive this point home. Looking into the unfinished Word of God was also like looking into the crude mirrors of those days. Mirrors in Paul’s day gave imperfect reflections, and so while everyone else knew exactly what Paul looked like, Paul himself knew what he looked like only “in part” (I Cor. 13:12). Similarly, with the Bible incomplete, men had an unclear view of the image of God. But once the Word of God was complete, Paul predicted: “then shall I know even as also I am known,” i.e., then he would know God as clearly as men knew him.

Thus there is no excuse for us to be two-faced Christians. As we peer daily into the pages of the written Word of God, we can see God “face to face,” and can sculpt our lives into His image:

“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” (II Cor. 3:18).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

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