2 Corinthians 3:7-18
7 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, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 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. 14 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. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
In this letter to the church at Corinth, Paul was addressing the freedom and life found in Jesus. There were many Jewish Christians who were clinging to the law, the old covenant. They had not yet grasped the freedom found in Christ. Paul understood that the Mosaic law is holy, righteous and good. It reflects the character of its Creator. But it leaves us with a legal connection to God. Breaking the law incurs God's judgment and death. This is why the role of the law was meant to be temporary, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)
Christ brought a new covenant, based on familial and relational, ways of connecting to God, instead of a legal relationship. Of course those laws are still good, we shouldn’t kill, steal, etc. But we don’t follow those laws out of obligation. Rather we follow the law out of our dedication to God as a beloved member of God’s family.
With the new covenant, the Spirit becomes our guide and provides true freedom. So we follow the law, but we always let the Spirit guide in moments of question, decision, and crisis. Freedom is not found in a set of rules or procedures. It is not found in any system, hierarchy, or institution. Rules, laws, systems, and institutions are always limited. They will always be flawed. So rely on the old covenant until it reaches it’s limit. Then find true freedom in the Spirit. And here’s a clue: The Spirit will always lead with love.
In what ways do laws and rules make us feel safe? In what way are they flawed? How do you navigate questions where the law says one thing and your heart says another?
Dear Creator, Thank you for the gift of Christ. Thank you that our relationship to you does not have to be legal, but rather you have adopted us into your family. Let us search for freedom in your Spirit. Let us follow the law with your guidance. Let us remember that in all things you love us, even when we fail. Thank your or the gift of grace and mercy. May we share those gifts with others. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.