So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
When Moses was on the mountain with the Lord, pleading for the people after their very quick descent into idolatry with the golden calf, Moses cried out to God, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). And God did. That encounter left Moses’ face radiant for a while.
At first, Moses covered his face with a veil because of the shine and the people’s fear (Exodus 34:29-25), but with the passing of time Moses kept on the veil so the people wouldn’t see the shine beginning to fade (2 Corinthians 3:13).
Relating these realities to the New Covenant supplanting the Law of Moses, Paul wrote that a veil remains today. This veil rests over the hearts of people so long as we are in sin and opposed to God (3:14-15). Yet, by turning to Jesus the veil is removed through the work of the Holy Spirit, and there is the new and sudden freedom of true life (3:16-17).
In 3:18, Paul wrote that the removal of this veil has a two-direction result. On the one hand is the result of what we perceive. God told Moses that no person could see his face (or, the fullness of his glory) and live (Exodus 33:20). The wages of sin is death. Sin brings condemnation and wrath. In sin, we are unfit to dwell in the awesome presence of God. Yet, in Christ that sin is gone and we become the righteousness of the very One who has existed eternally with the Father. Through Christ, we get to dwell forever in God’s glory (although we still may only glimpse it today).
Without a veil, we get to gaze upon God himself and experience true life.
On the other hand is the result of what we reflect. We become a mirror of God’s glory to the world. We receive the Spirit within us, God himself dwelling within us, and he transforms us to be more and more like Jesus. The more like Jesus in love, joy, peace, and patience, the more we reflect Jesus to the world. The more they see his glory.
In Christ, saved by grace through faith, we have gone from being rebellious sinners who rejected God and could not withstand his glory, to being beloved children who have God dwelling within and mirror his glory more and more as we grow.
No wonder why Jesus, the Light of the world, said to us, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16). He is light and his kingdom is one of marvelous light. The more we dwell with Jesus and the more we walk by the Spirit, the more of his goodness and grace the world will see through us. With this light, we become ambassadors of a greater kingdom, seeking to lead people to the wondrous glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
This post is part of our on going journey through the Bible together as a church.