THE GLORY OF THE NEW COVENANT
Now 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, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry …that brings righteous! For what was glorious has no glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 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. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with every-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 (MSG) 7 The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun.
8 How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit? 9 If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation? 10 Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one.
11 If that makeshift arrangement impressed us, how much more this brightly shining government installed for eternity? 12 With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. 13 Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away— 14 and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil.
15 Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can’t see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there’s nothing there. 16 Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face to face! 17 They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! 18 All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
By Carolyn Hopkins