The Beauty and the Beholder

What separates you from the rest of the world?

That’s a big question I know, but the bible points to a sharp contrast between saved, disciple making followers of Jesus and lost people who have yet to place their faith in Jesus, and even those who are deliberately and passionately chasing their own desires.

What’s the contrast? Many will say (not incorrectly mind you) that the saving knowledge of Jesus is the difference. While this is a very accurate and biblical response, let’s take it one step further… How can someone reject the very thing that believers hold as their most valuable treasure? How can unbelievers catch a glimpse of the Gospel and not behold it as the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen?

Think about it. Consider the effects of the Gospel. Try and comprehend the promises and faithfulness of God. Search the Scriptures for the depths of the foundations of what you believe. Study the character of God and all of His attributes, and inspect the person of Jesus to see those attributes put on full display. I dare you to hold back emotion as you contemplate the work of the Lord in your life, bringing new life to you while you were dead in your sin; a life that is full of forgiveness and overwhelming you with grace. How could anyone not find that beautiful?

I mean, is beauty truly found in the eye of the beholder?

Let’s use this example: imagine if we blindfolded an ordinary man and brought him to the Louvre Museum in Paris and stood him in front of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, allowing him (hypothetically of course) to only feel the painting with his hands but obviously not being able to look upon one of the most beautiful pieces of art known to man. If beauty is truly found in the eye of the beholder, then the man can rightly claim that the painting is not beautiful. The most famous painting of all time and the man only comprehends what he feels… a canvas.

Now imagine the commotion that would arise if you were in the crowd around him as he blindly judges this canvas. The absurdity that our culture has taught us is that you decide what you find beautiful, and I will decide what I find beautiful. We have traded the definition of beauty for that of appreciation. The truth that the bible preaches is contrary to our culture (go figure) in that beauty is beauty because of the artist not the audience.

The bible presents beauty not as some intangible definition that can vary depending on who is beholding it, but rather a constant state of being because of Who made it. In Genesis, God did not create the world, the animals, and everything else and then ask Adam if he thought it was good. No, He made it and said everything He made was very good.

You see, we’ve allowed the culture to invade our thinking, to literally change what we love to behold. We see “beauty” in the filthiest and furthest reaches on the internet, and this “beauty” changes our little girls’ search to find acceptance. But this is absolutely opposed to the biblical portrayal of beauty. Beauty is not what we make for or of ourselves.

So what does this mean for us as believers?

2 Corinthians 3:18

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Read this verse. Think about, and read it again. Think about the reality of what happened at your salvation. Your salvation was not simply a decision or a prayer. It was a moment in time where you realized you could now see the beauty of the Lord! In a single moment, all the cares and frustrations of this life and the worries it brings, it all washes away when we finally behold the glory of God.

We, too, were once blind. Blinded by our hatred toward God and rebellious towards His way, pursuing our own desires. But now, as professing followers of Jesus, we are blind no longer. We behold the glory of the Lord. We finally see the beauty of the Gospel and now everything else seems arbitrary.

On the other hand, not only were we once blind, but billions of other people are still blind.

Which is why so many of us so often fall short at evangelism. We attempt to tailor the Gospel to be beautiful to the blind person. “Maybe if I present it this way, or say this verse every time, or if I don’t seem so nervous… maybe then they can see the Gospel like I can.” When in reality, it’s just like the blindfolded man in front of the Mona Lisa. The display case is not preventing the man from see the painting. Nor is the tour guide, or the lighting, or any other factor. No, the blindfold is in the way and until the blindfold is removed, the glory of the Gospel remains veiled to unbelievers.

What does all this mean? The glory is there the entire time. The unbeliever just can’t see it! Imagine a blind man standing atop a hill during the late hours of the evening, looking up at the sky and shaking his fists at God and saying “why have you done this to me?”, and the myriads and myriads of stars all twinkling and dancing ever so slightly through the night sky are staring back at this man, proclaiming the glory of the Lord and putting on display how great He is. If the infinite numbers galaxies are enough to draw us to a state of awe, how much greater is the One who spoke them into existence?

Furthermore, if our God is greater, more glorious, and more beautiful than the height of His creation, how in the world is beauty found in the eye of the beholder? We don’t define or determine what’s beautiful for ourselves. You are beautiful because God created you. A sinned scarred creation all around you is still beautiful because of Who brought it into existence. And the Gospel, the story of how this glorious God has acted throughout human history to redeem sinners through the life and death of His Son, is beautiful regardless of how you view it because of who God is.

You see, our God is the greatest artist. The gospel- His greatest masterpiece. And you are simply the beholder of the artist’s beauty.