The Glory That Surpasses

2 Corinthians 3:4-11

4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses‘ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,
8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it.
11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Paul is comparing and contrasting the New Covenant with the Law. Oh, how blessed we are to be under the New Covenant. Don’t ever desire to be back under the Law!


The Law (The Old Covenant)
The New Covenant
Of the Letter Of the Spirit
The Letter kills The Spirit gives life
Ministry of Death Ministry of Righteousness
Carved in letters on stone (no doubt the reference here) Ministry of the Spirit written on the heart (Hebrews 10:16)
Came with Glory such that the Israelites could not look upon Moses’ face Ministry of the Spirit has much more Glory
Was brought to an end Is permanent
Ministry of Condemnation Ministry of Righteousness
What once had Glory has come to have no Glory Far surpasses the letter in Glory
Was brought to an end though it came with Glory What is permanent will have Glory

Do you see what Paul is saying? How much more blessed are we to sit at the feet of Jesus on Mount Zion (Matthew 5-7) than to tremble at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-20). While the Israelites trembled in fear and begged the Lord to speak no more to them, we can come before the Lord in confidence and boldness.

Israelites:

Exodus 20:

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off
19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”
21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

Believers:

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Ephesians 3:11-12

11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

This is why Paul cries out to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:1-3

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.
2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?


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