2 Corinthians 3:13


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

…unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 2 Corinthians 3:13

When Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone. Because of this, he veiled his face other than when he spoke to the Israelites the words of the Lord. However, when he went before the Lord, he would again take it off. The reason for the veiling then was to hide the brightness of the reflected glory of God because it was so difficult to look upon him.

That reason seems to correspond with what Paul said earlier in verse 3:7, but in this verse Paul seems to indicate another reason altogether. It was “so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” In Romans 10, Paul shows that the law had an end which is found in the work of Christ. This is why the law “was passing away” –

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

Therefore, Paul is using the account of the Israelites before Moses as a parable of the time in which we live. The law is ended in Christ, but the Israelites could not see the end of it. They looked at the law as permanent and as a means to an end. But the law was intended to lead us to Christ. Because they missed this, they “could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” And this is exactly what has happened in the dispensational model of history.

However, the German scholar Hermann Olshausen asks, “How could St Paul say that Moses covered his countenance in order that the Israelites should not behold Christ?” His question seems to imply that it would be wrong for Israel, who was looking for their Messiah, to be denied seeing Christ. However, this is an incorrect analysis. They were not denied this actively. Instead, they chose to deny Him. They were offered Christ in Acts 2. From there, and throughout Acts, it shows the truth that Jesus was rejected by them. Paul explains this in Romans 11 –

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25

God knew in advance that Israel would reject their Messiah, but it served a greater purpose in that the nations received Him and became the called-out Gentile church. Israel was set-aside during this dispensation “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” And yet, even during this dispensation, there has always been a remnant of Israel who is saved by grace (see Romans 11:5).

There is a time coming when the Gentiles will have reached their fullness and they will be raptured home to be with the Lord. At that time, the focus will be on the nation of Israel once again. On that day, the veil will be taken away and they will see that Christ is, in fact, the end of the law for all who believe.

Life application: Let us pray for Israel as a nation to have their collective eyes opened to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. God is working on them now and that wondrous day is coming. May it be soon!

Heavenly Father, Your word says that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. But many have had a veil over their eyes so that they could not see what was passing away in the Law of Moses. Lord, lift that veil and show them that there is an exceeding glory in the work of Jesus Christ that has brought the law to its end and which has bestowed marvelous grace on all who will but believe. I pray that many eyes will be opened to what You have done through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



2 Corinthians 3:12


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 2 Corinthians 3:12

The word “therefore” is given as a general summary of what has been thus far stated. He has been speaking of the supremacy of the New Covenant which is written on our hearts and which exceeds even the glory of the Old which came at Sinai in such a wondrous display. It was written on tablets of stone by the very finger of God, and yet it cannot compare to what we now have in Christ. In verse 4, Paul spoke of “trust through Christ toward God.” Now he builds on that by saying, “…since we have such hope.”

It is the future of what the “trust” implied. We have trust now and that leads us to hope in what the future holds. And because of this hope he says “we use great boldness of speech.” This again builds on a previous verse. Towards the end of the previous chapter, he said –

“For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:17

His words are in sincerity “as from God.” Therefore, because they are and because they carry a weight and a glory which even surpasses that of the Old Covenant, he is able to use this boldness, knowing that it has God’s sure stamp of approval. Paul’s confidence in the message he spoke was grounded in the very workings of God in redemptive history!

Today, Christians have Paul’s words, written and recorded in his epistles. They carry all of the same weight, glory, and power as what Paul spoke to the masses he met along his journeys. How can we not feel the same confidence as he? How can we not speak with the same boldness? If God be for us (and He is if we rightly proclaim His word), than who can be against us?

Life application: Who cares if your life is threatened for speaking out the truth of the gospel? If it be the gospel you speak, it is the very message that saved you and will continue to save you. Speak it!

Heavenly Father, the immense amount of moral perversion which is being exercised in the world today was anticipated by You. Your word told us this was coming. But Your gospel truth is more powerful to save us than the threats of those people are to harm us. In the end, the world can even take our lives, but our souls are safe with You. Come what may, I will proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord; His word is fixed, firm, and unchanging; and He is the only path to salvation for mankind. I stand on the truth of Jesus. Amen.



2 Corinthians 3:11


Monday, 6 July 2015

For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 2 Corinthians 3:11

Again Paul shows the contrast between the Law of Moses and the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Here he uses a term “is passing away” which is a present participle. Why, if the New Covenant has replaced the Old, has he termed it this way? One could argue that it was because the temple was still standing in Jerusalem until it was destroyed in AD70. However, Paul is writing doctrine for the church age – all of it. What he wrote then still applies now. So what does this mean?

The answer is that Israel has not yet received Jesus Christ as a collective whole. Daniel 9 shows that they have seven more years in the prophetic timeline to do so. These years are yet future and a temple will be rebuilt, sacrifices will be made, and the Old Covenant will be employed during those seven years. This does not mean it is acceptable for a relationship with God, but that it is a time which is preparing them for an acceptable relationship with Him through Jesus, exactly as Daniel prophesied. This is the same type of terminology which is found in Hebrews –

“In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13

Based on the structure of the Bible, the letters after Paul’s epistles which begin with Hebrews are specifically directed to the Jews of the end times. This is why the terminology is used. God reaches out, one last time, to the Jews of the end times for reconciliation to Him. It is coming and may it be soon that they receive their Messiah!

Understanding this, Paul says that this which is “passing away” was glorious. It was received in glory and it bears the holy character of God. Jesus alone fulfilled it, demonstrating His glory. And He remains through it, having shed His blood in fulfillment of the passing glory and being resurrected to lead us to that which is “much more glorious.” We have an eternal glory before us in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This glory is now bestowed upon all who receive Him.

Life application: Reinserting the law, which Christ has fulfilled, is to reject the work He accomplished for us. Let us stand firm on the truth that He is the fulfillment of the law and He is where our hope and trust must lie. Not in works, but in faith.

Heavenly Father, I will boast in Christ the Lord and in Him alone. No work on earth will get me one inch closer to You. Instead, He fulfilled the law which only brought condemnation, and He prevailed over that law. Now, through faith in His work, the law is nullified to me. I stand reconciled through the work of Another! Thank You God for Jesus Christ my Lord! Amen.



2 Corinthians 3:10


Sunday, 5 July 2015

For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
2 Corinthians 3:10

This particular verse is based on the reading of the Greek version of Old Testament passages found in Exodus 34 (Exodus 34:29 & Exodus 34:35). Paul, using that idea concerning the glory of the situation at that time, says that it actually cannot be compared to “the glory that excels.”

The giving of the law was glorious. It was glorious in the display at its giving. It was glorious in the contents of the law which it revealed. It was glorious in how that law was ministered throughout the time of Israel’s life under it as well. And yet, it was a ministry of death. It showed that man cannot fulfill its requirements and thus only brought condemnation. The only thing that spared men from this was a grant of mercy based on the Day of Atonement rituals.

However, the covenant which came though the work of Jesus is a ministry of life. It excels in that where the law brought death, it brings life. Where the law brought condemnation, it brings salvation. Where the law was written on stone, it is written on the hearts. In Jesus, there is full pardon of sin. In Jesus, there is the sure hope of restoration with God. In Jesus, there is the prospect of eternal life. In all ways, the glory of the law is shown to have no glory compared to the work of Jesus on our behalf.

Life application: People often feel the need to “add” to the work of Jesus as if they must do something to please God. But what can be added to what God has done? If His plan of salvation isn’t capable of saving, then whatever we do is surely not going to take care of the problem. Rest in Jesus, trust in Jesus, and don’t add to the gospel which says that you are saved by grace through faith. Anything else isn’t the gospel.

Heavenly Father, after hearing what others say about salvation, I must ask, “What could I add to the work of Jesus?” It is beyond ridiculous to assume that You sent Him to save me but I need to do more in order to be saved. Rather, I accept that I am saved by grace through faith. In other words, I have believed and I am saved. Deal done! Thank Your for this simplicity, because we sure need it. Amen.




2 Corinthians 3:9


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.