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The Glory of New Covenant Ministry (2 COR.3:7-18)

WEAKNESS  is the self-distrustful, conscious recognition of our weakness in spiritual things. We are not Ironmen, we are not Triathletes, we do not ‘go the distance’, we fall short: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. It is received by faith, not by works (Rom. 3:23,4).

The world tells us to put on display our strengths and our gifts. To boast in what we can do. Paul boasts that he leans on Christ, boasts in his sufferings, weakness and hardships..he boasts that he loves Christ alone. And in such a life, the power of God is at work. BUT We do not become powerful; we do not become spiritually sensational,  we have this treasure in jars of clay so that the excellency of the power is from God and [obviously] not from ourselves.

So what do we display in these new lives? Transformation; changed lives; what former generations called ‘holiness’. This is what Paul points to when he talks about the “even more glorious ministry of the Spirit that brings righteousness” (vs. 9). And where the Spirit is, there is  freedom (vs. 17), but not to do kooky things, but freedom from sin,  freedom to put off sin and to actually learn how to love one another when it is costly and sacrificial. The glory of such lives is not in their size or showiness, but in their depth.

Do you want to be entertained? Do you want to hear great speakers? Do you want a sense of excitement? There’s a lot of places you can go for that. But if you want to become holy, if you want to leave behind the sin “that so easily entangles you” (Heb.12:1), there’s only one place to go: turn to Christ (vs. 16).

 

TAKING IT FURTHER:

1. How’s your ‘face time’ lately? We can, with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory. No one under the old covenant could do that but Moses. Where is that time on your weekly list of priorities?

2. My comments about Tom Brokaw in the sermon were meant to highlight the fact that ‘the veil’ in this chapter is not an intellectual one, but a hard heart; a ‘stiff neck’ (Ex. 33:5 and see Acts 7:51). His comments imply that he is intrigued by his mortality, but doesn’t seem humbled or repentant or prepared to stand before a holy God. Have you ‘turned back to the Lord’ lately (=repent)? The gospel of grace is always a RESET button that we can hit in our lives … over and over again. Isn’t that amazing?

3. How much do I want holiness? Would I pray earnestly that God would make our church family ‘more holy’ – even if it meant the attendance might drop off?