Sunday, 12 July 2015
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17
This phase seems perplexing, but it is only perplexing if we fail to look for the context of Paul’s thoughts. In verse 3:6, he said, “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” He is now returning to that thought, as if the intervening verses were parenthetical.
He has been contrasting the supremacy of the new covenant over the old. In doing so, he gave the example of Moses’ veil as a picture of how the truth of Christ is veiled to those who read the law without the connection of who Jesus is in relation to the words it contains. Once a person (specifically a Jew, and more specifically the nation of Israel collectively) turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
In this is found the answer to what Paul is saying. The Lord is the Spirit of biblical interpretation. This is not speaking then of the Holy Spirit but the knowledgeable relationship between what is written in the law and what it is pointing out, which is Christ Jesus. As He said Himself in John 5 –
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39
The sentiment that Paul is giving here is very similar to the words of the angel who spoke to John in Revelation 19 –
“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10
Albert Barnes explains the intent of this verse quite well –
“The sense is, that Christ was the Spirit; that is, the sum, the substance of the Old Testament. The figures, types, prophecies, etc. all centered in him, and he was the end of all those institutions. If contemplated as having reference to him, it was easy to understand them.”
Understanding who Jesus is, and understanding what Scripture is saying about Him, leads to the liberty that Paul addresses. The Jews only find true liberty from the veil which covers their eyes when they turn to the Lord.
Life application: One can read Scripture all day long and not properly understand it unless they recognize that it is revealing Jesus. Therefore, arguing Scripture with those who do not accept who He is makes no sense. They must first be correctly trained in the Subject of Scripture before they can understand the meaning behind the words.
Heavenly Father, You have given us Scripture to reveal Jesus to us. And so it is obvious why so many people misuse Your word. They create a Jesus in their own image rather than receiving Him as He is portrayed. This leads to a false gospel and a sad future which lies ahead for them. I pray that people will determine to look for the truth in Your word and stop believing the false presentations of Jesus which have become so commonplace in the modern church. Open eyes Lord! Amen.