Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2 Corinthians 3 - Ever-Increasing Glory

LINK: 2 Corinthians 3


False teachers had carried letters of recommendation to the Corinthians in order to establish their authority, but Paul stated that the believers they had preached to were his letters of recommendation. These letters "written on human hearts" bring up images of God's promise in the Old Testament that he would give a new heart to God's people (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). The New Covenant of grace changes people's hearts and makes them want to follow God. 

The predominant false teachers were the "Judaizers" who preached that salvation was by faith in Christ and keeping the Law of Moses (Acts 15). To refute this, he emphasized the superiority of the New Covenant of grace compared to the Old Covenant Law.  Jesus' sacrifice is far superior to the Old Testament sacrifices (Hebrews 8-10). Old Covenant legalism emphasizing external obedience brings death but the New Covenant message of grace and internal transformation of the heart brings life! (Try to observe additional contrasts.) 

It would be helpful to read Exodus 32:29-35 to review how God's glory shone in the face of Moses after he received the Old Covenant from God on Mount Sinai, his face was so bright he had to wear a veil that also kept the people from totally understanding. The Jews were "veiled" in their understanding of the references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures also. God's glory on the face of Moses eventually faded, but the glory of God in believers is ever-increasing as we transform more and more into the image of Christ! That glory can then spread to others, and we will talk about that in 2 Corinthians 4!


Here is a link and lyrics from a song by Michael Card that intersects the story of Moses with the glory of Jesus! 


A Face that Shone (Moses) by Michael Card

He ate the bread of heaven
Drank water from the rock
And the grumbling children followed
Like a misbegotten flock
He climbed up on a mountain
They couldn't even touch
Who'd have known that one encounter
Could have ever meant so much

And up upon that high place
In a cleft of solid stone
His face was set on fire
As the God of Glory shone
He alone had seen it
And had lived to tell the tale
But because they feared the fire
He had to hide behind a veil

A face that shone with the radiance of the Father
Though it had known and endured dark desert days
A face that shone with the glory of Another
So the prophet would discover
As the glory was fading away

He was the Bread from Heaven
He would be the smitten Rock
He had twelve confused disciples
They were his bewildered flock
When he climbed upon the mountain
He took Peter, James and John
In the face of pending glory
They soon began to yawn

As he prayed while they were sleeping
He was transfigured into Light
His face a flash of lightning
His clothes so burning bright
So Moses finally saw the face
Before he'd hidden from
Then came a voice from heaven
This is my beloved Son

The face that shone is the Glory of the Father
And he had known from the start that it was so
The face that shone had let the light shine out of darkness
And we're changed into His likeness
As we gaze upon the Son

But you and me we tend to flee from shining faces
We see the glow and then we know that we're undone
They shine His light into out emptiest of spaces
With their bright and shining faces
Reflect the radiance of the Son

The face that shone is the Glory of the Father
And he had known from the start that it was so
The face that shone had let the light shine out of darkness
And we're changed into His likeness
As we gaze upon the Son


We truly are "changed into His likeness/As we gaze upon the Son"! When we spend more time in the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through it and obey it (James 1:22-25), we will most certainly be transformed! 

After a full summer of basking in God's Word and applying it to my life and rich fellowship with other believers who kept me accountable to apply it, I went home and my parents said, "What happened to you? You are different? You have changed (for the better)!"  

I was allowing God's glory to radiate through me! Do not forget to look at the Word and ask God to transform you through it by applying what He teaches you! 

Meditate on James 1:22-25 today. 


Lord, teach us to look intently at You and walk away transformed. Amen. 
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