now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the israelites could not gaze at moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? for if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. for if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. [2 corinthians 3:7-11]
God’s glory. it’s what God is all about. he has acted from before the beginning of time, and all through the creation of the world, and all through the existence of people, to bring himself glory. God created man for his own glory. God allowed sin into the world (no, it was no surprise to him) to ultimately show his glory. God chose a people for himself to show his glory. God had planned a way to be present with his people in spite of their sin, to show his glory.
in the old testament, God’s plan to be with his people was through the law. moses, their leader, brought the law down from the mountain where he received it directly from God, and since he had been in God’s presence, his face shone bright with God’s glory. so much so, that he had to wear a veil because the people couldn’t handle it. through the law moses received, God established his holiness, his power, his authority, and his love for his chosen. this was a glorious ministry. however, paul calls it a ministry of death, in that it also gave them understanding that they were too broken and too rebellious to earn their way into his presence in their own power. they had to give sacrifice upon sacrifice upon sacrifice to be able to live with him. this plan was temporary, and it’s purpose was served, but God had planned and promised a better agreement. a better way. the only way. and it was fulfilled through the death of his Son, Jesus, on a cross.
Jesus was the final and ultimate sacrifice for the sin of God’s people. he was the only one who could serve as the perfect sacrifice because he was God, made into human flesh, perfect in life, having no sin, so that he alone could bear the sin of the world. he then proved His authority as God, overcoming death, and conquering hell in his resurrection from the grave. now all who call on the name of Jesus, turning to him for forgiveness, have life, dwell in God’s presence, and are sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit, with the hope of an inheritance of eternal life with the Creator. there, they will glorify him perfectly, without the hindrance of sinful flesh. isn’t this a ministry that greatly exceeds the glory of the first agreement? we are no longer under the condemnation of death that the law brings! we are free to be with God through the precious blood of Jesus. let’s celebrate this glorious new ministry that our amazing God has given!