Finding True FreedomFeb 15, 2016
Not only is this today’s Bible reading from our NY resolution plan, but it was THE passage of scripture that I named my blog after!
VeiledFree is a creative (and shorter) way to say the above verse. Plus the verse just wouldn’t fit on a business card…. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into ever-increasing glory.”
So what the heck does that verse mean? And how does one “Live VeiledFree”?
1). Realize that you are a sinner. Like, you are NEVER going to be good enough to earn righteousness. There is no amount of orphanages you could start in Africa to make you worthy of Heaven. Stop always trying to keep the demands of the law. A believer is no longer in bondage to that kind of condemnation. Plus it’s not possible. The Lord tells us in Romans that “There is none righteous…not even one.”
Stop comparing yourself to Jesus – he was perfect!
If we could be perfect, we would be the God of the universe.
2). Face the fact that the only way to escape Hell when you die is to realize that you are a sinner and you need God’s grace every minute of every day. You need to ask Jesus to come into your life. As simple as that. Just whisper “I need you in my heart.” And there He will be.
Here is the rest of the passage so that we don’t take verses out of context. 😉 Look for my Bible’s breakdown in parentheses.
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? (because Paul did not want to allow the false teachers to accuse him of being proud, he began his defense by posing two questions rather than making any overt claims. The Greek word for “commend” means to introduce. So Paul was asking the Corinthians if he needed to reintroduce himself, and prove himself once more. The false teachers accused Paul of not possessing the appropriate documents to prove his legitimacy. These letters were often used to introduce and authenticate someone to the first-century churches. Paul’s point was that he did not need secondhand testimony when the Corinthians had firsthand proof of his sincere and godly character, as well as the truth of his message).
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. (The transformed lives of the Corinthians were Paul’s most eloquent testimonial, better than any secondhand letter. Their changed lives were like an open letter that could be seen and read by all men as a testimony to Paul’s faithfulness and the truth of his message).
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (Paul’s letter was no human document written with ink that can fade. It was a living one. Paul’s letter was alive, written by Christ’s divine, supernatural power through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit).
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. (The greek word “confidence” can mean to win. Paul was confident in his ministry – which resulted in his ability to stay the course and continue moving toward the goal).
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (Paul disdained his own ability to reason, judge, or assess truth. Left to his own abilities, he was useless. He was dependent on divine revelation and the Holy Spirit’s power. Only God can make a person competent enough to do His work).
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (The covenant that provides forgiveness of sins through the death of Christ. The letter kills in two ways: 1). it results in a living death. Before Paul was converted, he thought he was saved by keeping the law, but all it did was kill his peace, joy, and hope. 2). it results in spiritual death. His inability to truly keep the law sentenced him to an eternal death. Only Jesus Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit can produce eternal life in one who believes).
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, (The law is a killer in the sense that it brings knowledge of sin. It acts as a ministry of death because no one can satisfy the demands of the law on his own and is therefore condemned. When God gave Moses the law, His glory appeared on the mountain. Paul was not depreciating the law; he was acknowledging that it was glorious because it reflected God’s nature, will, and character. The Israelites could not look steadily or stare at Moses’ face for too long because the reflective flory of God was too bright for them. It was similar to staring into the sun. When God manifested Himself, He did so by reducing His attributes to visible light. That’s how God manifested Himself to Moses, whose face in turn reflected the glory of God to the people).
will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? (The ministry of the Spirit is Paul’s descriptive term for the new covenant. Paul is arguing that if such glory attended the giving of the law under the ministry that brought death, how much more glorious will be the ministry of the Spirit in the new covenant and thus a glory that must also be superior).
If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And what if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (The law had a fading glory. It was not the final solution or the last word on the plight of sinners. The new covenant is what remains because it is the consummation of God’s plan of salvation. It has permanent glory).
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. (The belief that all the promises of the new covenant will occur. It is hope in total and complete forgiveness of sins for those who believe the gospel. The Greek word for “bold” means courageous. Because of his confidence, Paul preached the new covenant fearlessly, without any hesitation or timidity).
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. (This physical action pictured the fact that Moses did not have the confidence or boldness of Paul because the old covenant was veiled. It was shadowy. It was made up of types, pictures, symbols, and mystery. Moses communicated the glory of the old covenant with a certain obscurity).
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. (The “veil” represents unbelief. Those Israelites did not grasp the glory of the old covenant was obscure to them. Paul’s point was that just as the old covenant was obscure to the people of Moses’ day, it was still obscure to those who trusted in it as a means of salvation in Paul’s day. The veil of ignorance obscures the meaning of the old covenant to the hardened heart. When a person comes to Christ, the veil is lifted and his spiritual perception is no longer impaired. With the veil removed, believers are able to see the glory of God revealed in Christ. They understand that the law was never given to save them, but to lead them to the One who would).
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all (Not just Moses, or prophets, apostles, and preachers, but all believers). who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image (We have nothing obstructing our vision of Christ and His glory as revealed in the Scripture. Believers do not see a perfect representation of God’s glory now, but will one day. A continual, progressive transformation is taking place as we gaze at the glory of the Lord, believers are continually being transformed into Christlikeness. The ultimate goal of the believer is to be like Christ and by continually focusing on Him, the Spirit transforms the believer more and more into His image). with ever increasing glory (From one level of glory to another level of glory – from one level of manifesting Christ to another. This verse describes progressive sanctification. The more believers grow in their knowledge of Christ, the more He is revealed in their lives).