January 11 – LD 2, Day 4: Our Reflection in the Mirror
by Prof Herman Hanko
Read: James 1:19-27
Paul tells us that by the law is the knowledge of sin, and James speaks of the law as a mirror in which we see our reflection (James 1:23-25). If a “natural man,” that is a worldly and sinful man, looks in the glass or mirror, he sees nothing and “goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
But if he is a regenerated child of God, then, when he looks into the mirror, he is not a forgetful man, but “a doer of the work” and a “man who shall be blessed in his deed.”
What does this mean?
James calls the law “the law of liberty.” He calls it that because it is a special mirror into which the believer looks. It is a mirror, which has Christ in it – although the believer cannot see that immediately. And so, first of all, the believer looks into that mirror and sees himself spiritually as he truly is. And the picture is not pretty. It is a picture of a man or woman who, from a spiritual point of view, is ugly, hideous, full of running sores (Isaiah 1:5, 6) and whose righteousness is as filthy rags. That is the way we are spiritually.
But when we continue to look into that mirror of the law, gradually the mirror changes and there appears in the mirror a cross, planted on Calvary and on which hangs our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God in our flesh. And then we see ourselves in the mirror of the law as well, but we see ourselves reflected in the mirror of the law as the law is fulfilled in Christ. And then we see ourselves as we are in Christ. And that reflection is beautiful. It is of a saint shining as bright as the sun (Matt. 13:43), wearing clothes that are the brilliantly white robes of Christ’s righteousness (Rev. 6:11, 19:8), and with bodies that are like the glorious body of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:21).
So we first see ourselves as we truly are apart from Christ, and that is our sin and misery. But then we see ourselves as we are in Christ, beautiful and holy. But we have to see the first reflection before we can see the second. That is, we have to know our sins and miseries if we are to know our deliverance.
To know ourselves as we
truly are is to fill our souls with grief at the thought that we have sinned
against God and brought misery on ourselves because we have sinned. Then we
repent of our sins, confess them to God and flee to the cross as our only
escape from misery. The path to the cross is wet with the tears of weeping
sinners, and all those who are kneeling there with us at