Holy God, reveal Yourself to me today.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:7–18
The Greater Glory of the New Covenant
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
a 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or reflect
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIt would be helpful to read Exodus 34:29–35 as background to today’s passage.
As we saw yesterday, Paul’s status as an apostle is being questioned. Now he explains the basis of his confidence: he is confident not in himself but in the message he is privileged to deliver.
The whole passage contrasts Moses (who delivered the Law) and Paul (who delivers the Gospel). The Jewish people saw the Law, or “old covenant,” as life-giving (John 5:39), but Paul had found it ultimately to be a source of death because it just exposed his sinfulness (9; cf. Rom. 7:10). By contrast, the Gospel brings life and righteousness.
In Exodus 34 Moses wore a veil to protect the people from the glory of God reflected in his own face. But, says Paul, his fellow Jews have a veil over their minds that prevents them from seeing the glory of God in their Scriptures. Only in Christ, by the work of the Spirit, is this removed (14). In Jesus we truly see the glory of God (John 1:14) and this transforms us.
In Aramaic the phrase “cover the face/head” refers to shame or mourning. By contrast, to “uncover the face/head” indicates confidence and freedom. Paul’s confidence lies not only in the message but also in the transformation it brings in his own life (18).
Does your life look more and more like Christ’s the more you come to know him? Is there an area of your life that you have not allowed Christ to transform? Surrender to him today.
Jesus, I am Yours. Have Your way in my life. Make me like You.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.