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Bible Q

Could you please explain 2 Corinthians 3:7-18?

2Co 3:7-18  Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,  (8)  will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?  (9)  For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.  (10)  Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it.  (11)  For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.  (12)  Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,  (13)  not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.  (14)  But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.  (15)  Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  (16)  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  (17)  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  (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.

Although the Law given through Moses (called in this passage the ministry of death or ministry of condemnation)  was glorious, as echoed in the shining face of Moses, what has replaced it is infinitely more glorious – so glorious in fact that it makes the glory of the Law fade into insignificance.

This new covenant (or ministry of the Spirit or ministry of righteousness), is permanent, contrasting with the transient  law given through Moses.  If the transient law was glorious, how much more glorious is the permanent dispensation.

Because of this wonderful hope we can confidently approach God (Heb 4:14-16) – we don’t need a veil to hide the glory of God.  We have freedom from serving sin and death (Rom 8:2) if we have the spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9).

Those whose minds are hardened, whether they are Jews or unbelievers (2 Cor 4:3-4), have minds blinded to the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.  Like the Israelites of old, who could not gaze at the glory of God in Moses face, they have a veil over their hearts.

When our face is unveiled, we behold the glory of the Lord and the Lord progressively transforms us into  a closer  image of himself.  (See also Rom 8:29)

We need to make sure we keep our hearts unveiled, so that the light of  the knowledge of God will shine in our hearts that we truly will be transformed by the renewal of our minds to become like Jesus mind.  We need to think and act like Jesus.  See Romans 12:1-2:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  (2)  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The outworking of the theme of unveiled faces and the vital importance this concept has for the believer, is explained in 2 Corinthians 4:5-7:

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.   For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

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