Summary: God's glory is expressed through our transformed lives.
2 Cor 3:7-4:6
7 The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
If that passage, at least the first half of it, sounds familiar, it may be because you have a fantastic memory and recall in great detail that I preached on that passage back on September 23, 2012, as we began a focus on the topic of “The Glory of God”. We traced that theme through the fall, and it was very present during our Advent season as we reflected on the Glory of God revealed to us in the incarnation of Jesus, and now I want to return to that theme for the next four weeks until we begin the season of Lent on Feb 17. To do so, we are going to narrow our focus to the theme of the Glory of God in a little section in the middle of the book of 2 Corinthians.
Here is the outline:
Glory Experienced: 2 Cor 3:7-4:6 Jan 20
Glory Internalized: 2 Cor 4:7-16a Jan 27
Glory Produced: 2 Cor 4:16b-5:10 Feb 3
Glory Shared: 2 Cor 5:11-6:2 Feb 10
Before diving in to the section of Scripture for today, let’s review: what is “the glory of God”? Shout it out, I’ll jot it down.
The best simple description I’ve found that answers that question is one I showed you back in September, that I felt was good enough to show again as we review. It is the words of Pastor-theologian John Piper, whom I introduced last week: (play video embedded in powerpoint) http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/what-is-gods-glory
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
What is God's glory?
Wow. That's a good question, because we talk about it endlessly, don't we? And we should know what we're talking about. And yet it is very difficult to define. I'll make a stab at it.
The reason it is so important is because in the Bible I don't know of any truth that is more fundamentally pervasive than God's zeal to be glorified, which means his zeal for us so to think, so to feel, and so to act as to make him look as glorious as he is. We don't add to his glory.