Wednesday, December 24, 2008
2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Wow! Has God been doing a work in my life. I have not necessarily enjoyed it the past year, but it has been necessary.
More and more I am realizing who He is, who I am not, and am learning, slowly and painfully, to yield all to His plan and glory. In all my ramblings I hope to at least reveal that. Second Corinthians has been such a breath of fresh air. Daily God speaking straight to me. Just the thought of that alone. God speaks to me, and to you, if we will just listen.
Paul starts out the passage talking about the Law, basically the 10 Commandments given to Moses. He says in verse 7-9 "Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry than condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!"
My first thoughts go to the glory of God. It is something that I can talk about, but I don't think it is something I will fully understand until after an eternity with God. It is not a tangible thing. Like air, you can not see it, but you also cannot live without it. Everything is for God's glory. Everything. The good, the bad, it all will bring Him glory. It all points back to the Creator, and says He is good, He is worthy, He is the all in all.
I don't know about you, but for me the focus is usually all about me. Even as a Christian, we are so easily consumed with ourselves at the core. The Holy Spirit will spend a life time pointing us to the truth of God's glory, and making it all about Him.
So, again, Paul is comparing the Law and Jesus. Salvation will never be attained by what we do, what we consider good works, what we think is good enough. The Law was given to prove that point. The very thing that was thought to bring acceptance by God, was actually to be their death sentence. No one ever can, or ever will be able to keep the Law perfectly. Since God is holy and righteous, He cannot look upon sin, therefor as sinful creatures, we cannot be in God's presence due to our sins. The only way to be in His presence, then, is to be without sin. The Israelites took this Law and thought by it they could please God and enter His presence. They exchanged the Law for God's grace, and ultimately Jesus himself. In doing so, they denied their own sinful nature, and need for a Savior.
Even the law revealed God's glory, to the point that they could not even look at Moses after he was in the presence of God's backside. Verse 10-11 goes on to say "For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!" But the shine on Moses' face faded. Just as the glory of the Law faded. The surpassing glory is Jesus himself. His glory will never fade. The Law was a step in God's plan to show people their wickedness, and to reveal Jesus as the Savior. There is no comparison to Him. He took our sins upon Himself, something the Law could never do. In doing so, we are forgiven, covered by the blood and able to be in God's presence. He was the required sacrifice, free of blemish, slain for his people. He alone kept the Law perfectly for our sake.
Now the challenge-Verse 12"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold."
As I sat on my couch, hiding out from the world in a sense, I had to ponder "Bold in what?". I certainly have not been feeling very bold in my walk. The whining and self pity I have enjoyed harboring over the past year certainly isn't bold. The slothfulness, and anger, and disobedience isn't bold. The flat out disrespect I have for my husband at times, the frustration I feel over my kids and my attitude towards them, the fear I have in witnessing, the lack of graciousness to others, my apathetic prayer life, etc, etc. It caused me to think upon Gods ultimate plan. That this will one day be His kingdom and domain, His glory will ultimately be revealed in a clearer way to all. How does my life reflect who He is, and what He has done? Wherever He has chosen to put me. Why do I deny by my thoughts and actions what I know. Why do I fear to be bold? Why do I not cry out to God for it? In a way I have fallen captive to the same thing as the Israelites. I have been looking at my works, the Law in my life, rather than the power and glory of God in it. Rather than choosing to look for God in everything and reveal him in everything, I have become content to just stay where I am at, grumbling about the same things. I want to be bold.
Verses 13-16 are glorious verses about salvation. About God, through Jesus, removing the veil that covers hearts before salvation. It totally denies any "free will" we may presume to have in regards to controlling our own salvation and destiny. They clearly reveal God's sovereignty and plan of election in our lives. Since I am clearly going on and on, I will save those topics for another day.
Verses 17-18. Sweet victory! "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." It's not about me, and it is not me who will bring about this transformation of becoming like Christ. God himself promises, through the Spirit, to transform us into God's likeness with ever-increasing glory. First of all, tho, I guess that means less of me. Getting rid of some really ugly things in my life. Letting go, so God can fill it back up with Him. In the Lord there is freedom! Glorious Freedom! The kind Mel Gibson portrayed in worthy as fighting for in Braveheart. I want to fight like that in my life, for God's glory. I want the devil to shutter as my feet hit the floor in the morning. I want to stand one day before my Savior and hear Him say, well done, good and faithful servant. This is obviously the path He is taking me down to get me there. I will continue to trust Him in it.