Daily Thought for: 14th September

SPIRIT OF THE LORD

2 Corinthians 3. 12-18

It is said of Moses that he spoke to God face to face, as a man speaks with his friend, Exod. 33. 11. The expression should not be taken literally, but figuratively. God is spirit and no man, not even Moses, has seen God at any time. It means that there was total and unrestrained communion between the two. The result of this communion with God was that the skin of Moses’ face shone so much that the Israelites were afraid to come near to him. Moses therefore took a veil and covered his face while he spoke to the people, removing it again when he spoke with God, Exod. 34. 29-35. Paul uses this incident to teach us two things. The first is that, unlike Moses in this instance, who tried to hide something from the people so that they could not look on his face, Paul and other ministers of the gospel were open in their preaching and teaching. Secondly, he moves from the literal veil over Moses’ face to a spiritual veil over the hearts of the Jewish people which prevents them from realizing that the glory of the law was passing, just as the glory on Moses’ face was fading. He has already moved from literal letters to spiritual, vv. 6-12. Now he moves from a literal veil to a spiritual one.

When Moses spoke to God he removed the veil. In the same way, this spiritual veil over the hearts of Jewish people, which prevents them from seeing Christ in their scriptures, must be removed. Whenever a person, or the nation of Israel itself, turns to the Lord the veil is removed from their hearts. They see their scriptures in a new light.

Who moves this veil? The phrase ‘the Lord is that Spirit’ does not imply that Paul has got his doctrine of the Trinity mixed up! It is not necessary to capitalize the word Spirit, thus making the word refer to the Holy Spirit. Earlier, Paul has said the letter kills but the spirit gives life, and the Holy Spirit is not in view there, 2 Cor. 3. 6. Now, where the life-giving, light-imparting spirit of Christ is present, there is liberty - the liberty Christ gives. ‘Stand fast ...in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,’ Gal. 5. 1. In Christ, and in the spirit of Christ, the spirit of bondage to fear is gone, Rom. 8.15.

 

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