II Cor. 3 | Glory to Glory… Shine On!

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom. 
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding
the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord
who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 

When I was around 11 years old, it seemed all my friends had new bicycles. Not only were they new, but they were also 10 speeds! That’s right! Ten gears to push the bike to unheard of speeds that our single speed bikes could not acquire. I remember when that day finally came when I would get mine. My parents took me down to the bike store where they fitted me to my first 10 speed bike. It had all the extras! Quick release rims, break extensions and high-pressure tires. I was so excited about this bike that when I got it home, I kept it inside! Not even the garage was good enough. I wanted that new shine to remain on this bike forever. So when I would get the bike out to ride, afterward, I would immediately wipe it down clean and put it inside when I got home.

Reading 2 Corinthians chapter 3 made me think of this story. Paul mentions that Moses would veil his face so the Israelites could not gaze at the glory that was being brought to an end (v10-13). Paul uses this as an opportunity to explain the difference between being ministers of the old versus the new covenant. The old covenant (the law) is to reveal sin (Rom 7:7). Starting with original sin, all of mankind are sinners. Not a single person under the law has escaped this life without sinning. The good news (the gospel) is that one did, and his name is Jesus Christ; God made flesh (John 1:14)!

The new covenant is all about the finished work of Jesus Christ. Not only did Jesus Christ die for us, but he also lived a sinless life. This permanent glory (v11) is transforming our glory to glory into the likeness of Christ (v18). This is the power of the Gospel (Rom 1:16) that continuously transforms believers. We were once hostile and alienated from God being law haters and lawbreakers. But the transforming power of the cross changes our hearts. We now have a new attitude towards the law! Now, through Christ, we actually delight in it! Christ paid the penalty for our sin under the law, and we have been credited with his righteousness. Through Christ, we experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that brings permanent shine (glory). Some theologians have rightfully called this the “Great Exchange”.

So whatever happened to that bike? As with all earthly material things, it eventually lost it’s shine (like all other possessions) and probably was sold in a yard sale. But the unfading glory found in Christ will carry us forever!

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