Summary: Being under the New Covenant means changing from the inside out.
People Without Veils
1. Sometimes there is no winning. A man recounts a time when he had to enter the military while the draft was still in place:
I didn’t enlist in the Army — I was drafted. So I wasn’t going to make life easy for anyone. During my physical, the doctor asked softly, "Can you read the letters on the wall?"
"What letters?" I answered slyly.
"Good," said the doctor. "You passed the hearing test." [Reader’s Digest]
2. The false teachers, The “Super Apostles” in Corinth apparently taught something different from Paul about how we relate to God under the New Covenant. We are unsure what they taught; they were apparently not the same kind of false teachers that influenced the Galatian church.
3. To counter their false teaching, Paul shows how his correct teaching flows from the Old Testament which predicted a New Covenant which, in some ways, would be better than the Old.
This passage is a midrash on Exodus 34:29-35, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
Main Idea: Being under the New Covenant means changing from the inside out.
We can appreciate this New Covenant by seeing how much greater it is in contrast to the Old Covenant.
I. The Greater GLORY of the New Covenant (7-11)
“Paul’s argument here concerns the effect of the two covenants on fallen humans, not their purposes.”
A. The Ten Commandments came with GLORY
B. Moses saw God and GLOWED, and the people looked briefly at Moses
C. The age of the Spirit (New Covenant) OUTSHINES Moses’ face
• As a boy, watching a solar eclipse in a box…
D. We can have a PERMANENT glow
II. The Greater BOLDNESS: We Can Look Directly At God’s Glory (12-13)
A. Moses’ EXPERIENCE
B. The experience of the HEBREWS
• Under the New Covenant, you cannot overdose on God
• You cannot overcharge your battery
C. We are AT HOME in God’s presence
D. We are to GLOW in the dark
• I spoke at the Faith and Fellowship voluntary meeting at Maple Crest. Teacher handed Marylu glow-in-the-dark crosses to give to the kids…
III. The Greater UNDERSTANDING (14-16)
A. Religious but lost people do not GET IT
B. When God REGENERATES us, He removes the veil
• We are born with layers of resistance to the Gospel
• People are born lost sinner, hostile toward the true God
• The world pressures us to seek alternatives to a personal relationship with God through His Son…
• Satan also blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4)
• Put together, these layers create a veil
C. This does not mean we do not need to STUDY
• Because the veil is taken away does not mean we can see everything
• Considered a form of “resting”
• Our faith is a faith of the Book
• We don’t hear the word “study” much anymore; people seem to think that God just spontaneously tells us what we need to know…
IV. The Greater Result: TRANSFORMATION (17-18)
A. The agency: the HOLY SPIRIT (17)
1. He is GOD
2. He brings FREEDOM
• Freedom from what? The Law? Restrictions about entering the presence of God? Enslaving sin, being self-referenced, free to enjoy being human, free from man made rules or unbiblical inhibitions
• A starting point (freedom plus restriction vs. restriction with some restrictions lifted)
• Freedom to be gracious, loving
• Freedom from fear