Summary: As we look to Christ and follow His leadership, God transforms us into His image.
2 CORINTHIANS 3: 12-18 [GAINING PERSPECTIVE Series]
THE REFLECTION OF HIS GLORY
In this section Paul uses the experience of Moses and his veil to illustrate the glorious freedom and openness of the Christian life under grace. We, as Christians, are allowed to look upon the glory of God by contemplating on Christ and reflecting Christ to one another. As we look to Christ and follow His leadership, God transforms us into His image (CIM). As we are changed into the likeness of Christ we reflect the glory of Christ to the world. The greater our transformation, the greater glory of Christ the world can behold in us.
I. THE HOPE OF UNFADING GLORY; 12-13.
II. UNVEILING THE HEART; 14-16.
III. THE LIBERTY OF THE LORD; 17-18.
As recipients of the permanent, irrevocable New Covenant we are motivated to boldness by our hope which verse 12 proclaims. “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,”
What hope did Paul and [do] we today share? We have confident expectations because of the New Covenant is eternal. Our certain acceptance by God should give us “great boldness” in speech and action. In this confidence Paul kept nothing back [= ]. He told it like it was with absolute unreservedness.
Do you speak boldly for Christ or do you hold back the Gospel story. Such hope of our certain glory in Christ should cause us to be bold about our faith.
In Sports Spectrum Ken Walker tells how after a Monday night football game in 1990 several players did something for the first time that would later become a common sight. When the game ended between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, eight players from both sides gathered in a HUDDLE IN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD at the 40-yard line nearer to the scoreboard. There they bowed their knees for all to see and prayed together in the name of Jesus Christ. The brief prayer meetings caught on and gained their highest visibility several years later with Reggie White and his 1997 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. One Packer, Eugene Robinson, explains the purpose of the players coming together to bow their knees: "We don't pray about who wins the game or any of that stuff. That's not what it's there for. We pray basically as an acknowledgment of who God is and that men will see that He exists."
The players have taken heat for their public stand. An article in Sports Illustrated advised the players to pray in private, and the NFL made noises for a while as though they would shut the practice down. But the players stood firm, some saying they were willing to be fined for the practice, and the prayer huddles went on.
A moment of truth for a believer is when he or she decides to publically identify with Jesus Christ. Whether it be praying over a meal at a restaurant, carrying a Bible, wearing a pin or cross- it solidifies our commitment to Christ.
Paul begins an analogy of the veil over Moses face (Exodus 34:29–35) in verse 13. “And are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was facing away.”
Moses unveiled His face when He went in to speak with God, left it unveiled until He spoke with people then covered His face so they might not look upon the diminishing glory. Not only did this veil actually conceal the brightness of the glory but it also concealed the end of that which was fading away.
The word translated “end” has two significances here: “purpose” and “finish.” The veil prevented the people from seeing the “finish” of the glory as it faded away. But it also has typical significance. The fading glory hidden behind veil also signified the fading glory of the Old Covenant. This transience of the glory which accompanied the Old Covenant was not openly evident to the children of Israel. The Law had just been instituted and the people were not ready to be told that this glorious system was only temporary. The truth that the covenant of Law was a preparation for something greater was not yet made know to them.
So the transitory nature of the veiled glory corresponds to the transitory nature of the old covenant. The Glory faded because the Old Covenant was a covenant that was to fade away or was temporary. The contrast is that the unveiled ministry of the Spirit is permanent and eternal.
[But why did Moses' veil his face anyway? Did he believe that the rebellious Israelites would be less inclined to obey God if they witnessed a diminishing of this awesome radiance? Or did Moses consider them unworthy recipients of this display of God's glory and so veiled his face as a commentary on the hardness of their hearts? [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. NT. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, p. 561.]