Much More Wonderful!
Loving Lord, I will never fully understand Your extravagant love, but I embrace it. Speak now, for Your servant listens.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Renewal often begins by testing the wind: discerning where God is already at work and by becoming willing co-laborers with him (2 Cor. 6:1)” (Howard Snyder).
Sometimes we struggle with the Old Testament, but without it we would not understand much of the New. Here Paul encourages us to move from the Old to the New, rejoicing at the dazzling new insights the lasting presence of the Spirit brings (8). Moses’ fading face represented the temporary nature of his meeting with God. Now God is forever with us. Why would anyone want to go back to the old limitations?
Apparently, elements of the Corinthian church did want to return, giving more credit to the former way and suspicious of what they saw as Paul’s unauthorized innovation, especially when it touched the “specialness” of being a Jew. In response, Paul is careful to emphasize that Christ fulfills the old; he does not deny or ignore it—surely a model for our use of the Old Testament. A new era has come, but building on the old, much as AD years build on the BC years in history. Christ is the fulcrum of this progression; his coming issues in this new era.
If Christ brings a changed paradigm of faith, he is also the agent of change in our lives through his Spirit. Verses 17 and 18 are a glorious statement of spiritual formation through encounter with the Holy Presence. Our faces glow like Moses’ without the fading; we are transfigured like our Lord in a foretaste of the day we will meet him face to face, “our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” (18, The Message). A veil, representing blindness to God’s truth as well as shame in his presence, has been removed. What magnificent freedom! What a challenge to let the Spirit get on with the work of making us more like Christ!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). How does this challenge and instruct you?
Father, I thank You that I’m not what I was, but I’m not what I should be, either. Continue to guide my spiritual formation.
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