Why would anyone want to go back to the Law of Moses after tasting the salvation of Jesus? Sadly, this is something Christians in the first century struggled with, particularly those who had been raised as Jews under the Law of Moses. Even more sadly, there are Christians today who want to return to the Law of Moses and add it to what we have in Jesus. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians.
“The law that brought death was written in words on stone. It came with God’s glory, which made Moses’ face so bright that the Israelites could not continue to look at it. But that glory later disappeared. So surely the new way that brings the Spirit has even more glory. If the law that judged people guilty of sin had glory, surely the new way that makes people right with God has much greater glory. That old law had glory, but it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of this new way. If that law which disappeared came with glory, then this new way which continues forever has much greater glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:7-11 NCV)
Paul said that the Law of Moses “came with God’s glory”. It was given by God himself! Moses’ face, after he received the Law on Mount Sinai, was so bright that the Israelites couldn’t look at it. Although the brightness and glory disappeared over time, this is what we need to remember about the Law. Yes, it brought death, but it came with God’s glory.
Notice the point that Paul was making: if the Law of Moses had this much glory, how much more glory the way that brings the Spirit has! What we have in Jesus is so much better!
The law judged people guilty of sin and therefore brought death. But the new way of Jesus makes us right with God so it has even greater glory. Yes, the old law had glory – after all, it was given by God himself – but the new way of Jesus in comparison has greater glory. This is what we have in Jesus!
“We have this hope, so we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a covering over his face so the Israelites would not see it. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end. But their minds were closed, and even today that same covering hides the meaning when they read the old agreement. That covering is taken away only through Christ. Even today, when they read the law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds. But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
The new way of Jesus brings hope. The old law only brought death. Because in Jesus we receive the Spirit we have freedom – freedom from sin through Jesus and freedom from the law that brought death. We have a way of hope!
Therefore, we don’t need to cover our faces as Moses did. We are to show the Lord’s glory in our lives as we are being changed to be like him.
Notice that living as a Christian is a life of changing. We change from a life characterised by sin to a life characterised by Jesus as we reflect him in our lives. We truly must become disciples of Jesus!
May our lives always reflect our Teacher.
Image by Gerd Altmann from pixabay.com.
Readings for next week: 1 Corinthians 14-16; 2 Corinthians 1-4