2 Corinthians 3:7-18
7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face —a fading glory— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious. 12 Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness. 13 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not stare at the end of what was fading away, 14 but their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. 15 Even to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Transformed to the Image of Christ
by Michael Volbeda
There is an old saying that goes something like this: “Tide and time wait for no man.” It’s true that there are earthly forces beyond our control which we are powerless to alter. The passage of time inevitably brings decline and decay in this fallen world in which we live. We’re all familiar with the world-class athlete who is just a little past his prime or the phenomenal singer whose abilities begin to fade with age. Even Moses experienced this when he gradually lost the glow that was a result of his face-to-face encounter with the Lord God Himself when he received the Ten Commandments.
In each of these examples, the inevitable decline can be a source of shame or sadness because things are not as they once were and we are powerless to stop it. Moses tried to hide the fading glow by concealing it with a veil. That act of shame is a metaphor for the veil that shame and sin can create between us and God.
The amazing thing about the truth Paul shares in this passage is that the opposite should be true of our relationship with Christ. As Christians, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who renews us day by day. Our relationship with God should not decline or deteriorate over time but rather should grow and thrive as we become more and more like Christ. We do not experience condemnation for our sin but His forgiveness instead.
Moses may have had a moment of glory when he stood before God, but Paul says our glory will surpass that of Moses because it will endure forever. Because of our salvation through faith in Christ, we can stand before God with unveiled faces and behold the glory that will be ours for eternity. We can’t do this and remain unchanged. Paul says this process transforms us into that image of the glory of Christ. We become more and more like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.
Sometimes the only thing keeping us from being more like Christ is simply that we don’t live out what we already believe. Does your life reflect the truth that the veil of shame and doubt between you and God has been removed? Do you not only sense but actively seek the work of the Holy Spirit in your life as you are transformed to be more like Christ?
Here are a few simple questions to ask as you consider how you are being transformed into the image of Christ:
- Do I experience the boldness and confidence Paul talks about in this passage? Is that confidence rooted in myself or in the hope I have in Christ? (2 Corinthians 3:12)
- Do I experience freedom from sin and shame before God, or do I have a lingering sense of the veil that separated me from Him which existed in my life before Christ? (2 Corinthians 3:15-17)
- Do I have a sense that my thoughts, actions and character are being gradually but progressively changed to be more like that of Jesus Christ? (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.