Unlike the ministry of Moses, which was limited, impermanent, veiled, and lacking transformative power, Paul’s new covenant ministry is characterized by an all-surpassing, permanent, unveiled, transformative glory that is mediated by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:10–11, 16–18). Moses had a remarkable encounter with the presence of God (Ex. 34:29–35), but the new covenant believer’s access is even more astoundingly complete. While Israel could not even look at Moses’ face without the aid of a veil (Ex. 34:33), Christians can now behold the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face. This experience is ours “through Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14). He himself is the answer to the question, how can we behold the glory of God? Jesus, the new temple, has given us full access to the presence of God “through his flesh” (Heb. 10:20), literally tearing the temple curtain that formerly acted as a barrier between a holy God and a sinful people (Matt. 27:51; Ex. 26:31–33).
The implications of this are profound. First, we have unlimited access to the very presence of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Second, in Christ we are given an unashamed boldness to enjoy our free and limitless access to God (2 Cor. 3:12). Third, this bold beholding of God’s glory is the very means that the Spirit uses to bring about our utter transformation into the image of God’s glory (2 Cor. 3:18). From start to finish, the believer is being transformed by God’s glory, for God’s glory, and into the image of God’s glory.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.