Saturday, 4 July 2015
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:9
Paul builds upon the previous verse where he noted the glory of the countenance of Moses, even though his ministry was one of death and which was merely written on stones. In contrast to this is the ministry of Christ which leads to life and which is written on our hearts. But having noted glory associated with the ministry of death, that of the shining countenance of Moses’ face, then logically how much more glorious will be that which supersedes it!
In this verse, Paul changes the terms from “the ministry of death” to “the ministry of condemnation,” and from “the ministry of the Spirit” to “the ministry of righteousness.” In other words, the law brought death and associated with that death is condemnation; it is ineffectual to save anyone. However, the Spirit brings life and with that comes righteousness; it is not only sufficient to quicken the spirit to live, but to also grant Christ’s righteousness to the one who is so quickened. Paul speaks of the same things in Romans 5 –
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18, 19
The glory of this ministry of righteousness far exceeds the glory of the law. The law faded away, but the work of Christ will endure for all eternity. The glory of Christ will shine upon His redeemed throughout the ages of ages.
Life application: The Law of Moses is one of the most studied and cherished writings in all of human history. However its intent, like all of Scripture, was to lead us to Christ. It is not an end in and of itself. Rather we are to use it to understand our great need for a righteousness which is not our own; a righteousness found only in the work of Christ being imputed to us through faith.
Heavenly Father, one lesson of the entire Old Testament can be summed up in the thought “man fails.” Even with all of the guidelines given to us, we find that we actually just fail more. This makes the wonder of Jesus even more spectacular. We fail; He prevailed. We deserve death; He gives life. Instead of exile and punishment, we receive nearness and love. Thank You for the lessons of the Old and the comforts of the New! Thank You for Your superior word which shows us that “Jesus prevails” and in Him we are secure! Hallelujah and Amen.