2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Do you want to behold the Lord’s glory? If the Spirit of the Lord is in you, you will behold His glory! I’ll explain, but first we need to know a little bit more about who God is, through His interactions with Moses.
Exodus 33:1-11 — After his first visit to Mt. Sinai, where did Moses go to meet with YHWH (the LORD)? He pitched a tent (the Tent of Meeting) outside the camp, a good distance away.
Why wasn’t the Tent of Meeting in the camp? Because of the people’s sin (worshiping the golden calf). God’s presence and sin cannot occupy the same space. In v. 3, the LORD said He would not be in their midst because of their sin.
Those who sought the LORD went out to the Tent of Meeting. Moses was their intermediary — they’d ask him, and he’d ask the LORD. When Moses went to the Tent, all the people would arise and stand outside their tents, and gaze after Moses until he entered. They worshiped as the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the entrance. The pillar of cloud was the sign that the LORD was speaking with Moses, as if they were speaking face-to-face.
Exodus 33:18-23 After convincing the LORD to go up with all Israel and not just Moses himself, Moses cried out, “I pray you, show me Your glory!” Hallelujah! He wanted to see the kabod of God, the weightiness. He wanted to intimately know the LORD. The LORD agreed, but would let Moses see His back, but not His face. He promised to hide Moses in the cleft of the rock while His glory passed by.
Exodus 34:1-5 The LORD commanded Moses to return to Mt. Sinai with two more stone tablets, to replace the ones Moses smashed when he came down the first time and discovered the people were sinning. The LORD’s finger would again engrave the Ten Commandments on the new stones. And at that time, the LORD revealed His glory to Moses, just as He had promised. Thus, the Ten Commandments were received “in glory.”
Exodus 34:29-35 When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, his face shone with the LORD’s glory. He didn’t know it. Because of his shining face, the people were afraid (in dread and terror-stricken) because the glory, the weightiness, the presence of God lingered on Moses’ face. They didn’t want to get near him. I believe it was because they were sinning. Then the congregation was commanded to come near, and after he spoke with them, he put a veil over his face. The same happened when he went into the Tent of Meeting — Moses’ face shone from being in the LORD’s presence, and he veiled is face until he went in again. So, Moses veiled his face to hide the LORD’s glory because the people were terrified.
Now, back to 2 Corinthians 3:17-18:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
The Lord is the Spirit. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One. So the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Spirit are the same thing. Where the Spirit is, there is “liberty,” which literally means “freedom from slavery.” Slavery to what? Slavery to sin. Paul tells us in Romans 6:7, 18, and 22 that we who have received the baptism of Christ — the baptism of the Holy Spirit — have been set free from sin. Jesus promises freedom from slavery to sin in John 8:31-36 for His followers who continue in His word. Glory to God! If the Spirit is in us, we are set free from slavery to sin. We can be delivered from our sinfulness! Therefore . . . we can behold the Lord’s glory. We can be in the presence of God!
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
“Unveiled face” — Moses’ glory faded (v. 7-11). We have the glory on our faces because we have the Spirit dwelling in us, the Spirit who gives us freedom from slavery to sin! We’re not afraid to behold the glory . . . we have the glory in us! And our glory does not fade, nor are we to hide it. His glory in us is supposed to be seen by everyone.
Moses ministered death, for the Ten Commandments convict us of sin, and we stand as dead men unless we come to Christ to have our sins forgiven and our hearts purified. Christ ministered righteousness, giving us His righteousness — not as something we could us as a cover for our sins like Adam and Eve’s fig leaves, but something that would change us inwardly to be righteous, like Him. We become (“might become” isn’t in the original Greek) the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Now, that ministry of death, the Ten Commandments, came in glory — Moses saw the LORD’s glory! But think of it — Jesus Christ ministered righteousness, the Holy Spirit changing us inwardly. That’s far more glorious! The glory Christ brings, by the Holy Spirit making us inwardly righteous, surpasses Moses’ ministry!
Because we’ve become inwardly righteous by the Holy Spirit inwardly changing us, we are described as “Beholding as in a mirror the Lord’s glory” — We behold the glory of the Lord. How? By looking in a “mirror.”
What mirror? The glory of God is in the face of Christ (4:6).
We look at Christ and we behold the glory of the Lord.
Where is the face of Christ? In the WORD OF GOD, THE
BIBLE. That is where you see Him! That’s the mirror! You can’t see much until you’re filled with the Holy Spirit. But then, He lights up the Word of God so we can see deeply into it. Deeper and deeper we go!
“Transformed into the same image” — When we look at Jesus, we look like Jesus. Then God’s glory is in our unveiled faces.
“From glory to glory” — The more we look at Jesus’ face, the more we look like Jesus. We go on and on, from glory to glory to glory to glory, as we continue to look at the face of Jesus, in whom the glory of God is seen, in the Word of God!!!
“From the Lord, the Spirit” — Who sees Jesus this way?
–Not the unspiritual man. Spiritual things are foolishness, in his eyes. (1 Corinthians 2:14
–Not the infant in Christ. He does not understand spiritual things. (1 Corinthians 3:1)
— The one who sees Jesus this way is the one who is filled with the Holy Spirit! This is the one who is set free from sin so he can behold the glory as he looks at Jesus Christ!
You might ask, “Why should I want this?” I’m saved, I’m going to heaven. Isn’t that enough?”
Well, you should want it because you love Jesus and want to obey Him. (Why wouldn’t you want this?)
Be filled with the Spirit because:
You’ll be set free from slavery to sin.
THEN . . .
You’ll behold the Lord’s glory in Jesus’ face in the Word of God.
His glory will shine from you.
The world will know the Father sent Jesus Christ and loves you as He loves Him.
You’ll do what Jesus did on the earth, and greater.
It’s the will of God.
Therefore, having such a hope, I speak like Paul and Timothy in v. 12. I speak with great boldness. I am outspoken, blunt, and frank. Do you believe the glory of the Lord shines from you, right now? If not, confess your sins and turn from them. He will be faithful to forgive your sins AND cleanse you of all unrighteousness, filling you with His Spirit so you can behold His glory and shine forth as a witness of Him!