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INTRO:

TRANSITION:
Real v Fake Christians… Possible to dress up the outside but not be the real deal… How do you know?
Gneuine biblical change starts in the heart… We don’t will ourselves into Christlikeness
CONTEXT
READ:

This section has two parts: (1) vv. 7–11 comment on Exod 34:29–30, and the crucial terms are “glory” and “glorious”; (2) vv. 12–18 comment on Exod 34:33–35, and the pivotal terms are “bold” and “veil.”

v.1-6

our sufficiency is from God. Only God can make a person adequate to do his work, and Paul realized that truth (see note on 2:16; cf. 9:8, 10; 2 Thess. 2:13).

New Testament 3:1–6—Adequacy from God

Jewish travelers often carried letters of recommendation indicating that Jewish householders could trust them and give them lodging on their journey. In Greco-Roman society, higher-class patrons would write letters recommending their subordinates; such recommendations naturally carried more weight than the person’s own claims. Anyone who was trusted could write letters on someone else’s behalf (Acts 15:25–27; 18:27; 1 Cor 16:3), and by such letters a sender could also authorize a messenger (Acts 9:2). Self-commendation was considered acceptable when necessary to defend oneself or to make a point (see comment on 5:12).

New Testament 3:1–6—Adequacy from God

3:2–3. The first law was written by God’s fingers on tablets of stone (Ex 31:18; Deut 5:22), but the prophets had promised a new giving of the law (Is 2:3) to be written on the heart (Jer 31:31–34), as it had always been meant to be (Deut 30:6, 11–14). Ezekiel had prophesied that God would remove his people’s hard heart, a heart of stone, and write his word on soft hearts of flesh, by the Spirit (Ezek 11:19–20; 36:26–27). Old Testament prophets appealed to their divine calls, and some Greek philosophers, eager to distinguish themselves from charlatans (2:17), also claimed divine rather than merely human ordination.

New Testament 3:1–6—Adequacy from God

3:4–5. Jews outside Palestine sometimes spoke of God as “the Sufficient One” (see v. 5—KJV; cf. 2:16).

New Testament 3:1–6—Adequacy from God

the letter was thus the written law by itself, which “killed” simply by pronouncing its death sentence on the morally guilty. The Spirit, however, wrote the law’s morality in the hearts of God’s people, by God’s own gracious gift (Ezek 36:26–27).

The changed lives of the Corinthians are proof that Paul is a minister of the new covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31–33; Ezek. 36:26–27). Under this new administration, the internal effects of the gospel upon the heart take precedence over one’s external credentials.

Moralism and external religiosity are marked by the belief that change happens from the outside in (i.e., change your behavior, and you will experience the grace of God). In contrast, the gospel claims that, by the work of the Spirit, transformation happens from the inside out (i.e., because you have experienced the grace of God, you can be sure that the Spirit is working in your heart to bring about change). Because the believer’s sufficiency/competence comes not from external achievements but from God (2 Cor. 3:5), we should not grasp after a secure position in life on the basis of outward performance. Rather, we can rest in our already established position before God, knowing that the inward “heart work” of the Spirit leads to genuine, visible change.

If the sun is up, the moon no longer seems bright. The new covenant has “surpassing glory” (v. 10) since it more adequately reveals God’s character.

COULD GO TO THE 1 Cor passage says and SUCH WERE some of you...
I once was ____ now am _____
We all have a once was now am story...

3:12 such hope. The belief that all the promises of the New Covenant will occur. It is hope in total and complete forgiveness of sins for those who believe the gospel (cf. Rom. 8:24, 25; Gal. 5:5; Eph. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 13, 21). boldness of speech. The Gr. word for “boldness” means “courageously.” Because of his confidence, Paul preached the New Covenant fearlessly, without any hesitation or timidity.

3:13 Moses, who put a veil over his face. This physical action pictured the fact that Moses did not have the confidence or boldness of Paul because the Old Covenant was veiled. It was shadowy. It was made up of types, pictures, symbols, and mystery. Moses communicated the glory of the Old Covenant with a certain obscurity (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10, 11).

Paul’s emphasis on the New Covenant implies that his opponents were ministers of the Old Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was a written revelation of the righteousness God asked of Israel (e.g., Ex. 19–23). It was accepted with an oath of obedience and a blood sacrifice (Ex. 24). When Israel proved unable and unwilling to remain faithful to that covenant, God graciously intervened and promised a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; 32:40), new (kainēs) both in time and in quality. It was inaugurated by Christ in His sacrifice on the cross (Luke 22:20), and is entered into by faith (Phil. 3:9) and lived out in dependence on the Spirit (Rom. 7:6; 8:4). (However, the physical and national aspects of the New Covenant which pertain to Israel have not been appropriated to the church. Those are yet to be fulfilled in the Millennium. The church today shares in the soteriological aspects of that covenant, established by Christ’s blood for all believers [cf. Heb. 8:7–13].)

2. v.7-16
New Testament 3:7–18—The Glory of Two Covenants

Paul is even greater than Moses—but only because he preaches a message greater than that of Moses. If his opponents were appealing to Moses for their authority (cf. 11:22), Paul effectively short-circuits their claims here.

New Testament 3:7–18—The Glory of Two Covenants

Moralists and other speakers commonly used his word for “boldness” (NASB, NRSV) here to explain that they spoke forthrightly; they thus contended that they were not flatterers like the demagogues who sought popular support but did not care about the masses.

3:13. Moses’ glory had to be covered—unlike Paul’s forthright speech (v. 12)—and would always fade away—unlike the glory of Paul’s message, revealed through the Spirit who came to reside in believers. Jewish men in Paul’s day did not cover their heads unless they were ashamed or mourning.

3:14, 15 the same veil remains … a veil lies on their heart. The “veil” here represents unbelief. Those Israelites did not grasp the glory of the Old Covenant because of their unbelief. As a result, the meaning of the Old Covenant was obscure to them (cf. Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7)

3:18 we all. Not just Moses, or prophets, apostles, and preachers, but all believers. with unveiled face. Believers in the New Covenant have nothing obstructing their vision of Christ and His glory as revealed in the Scripture. beholding as in a mirror. Paul’s emphasis here is not so much on the reflective capabilities of the mirror as it is on the intimacy of it. A person can bring a mirror right up to his face and get an unobstructed view. Mirrors in Paul’s day were polished metal (see note on James 1:23), and thus offered a far from perfect reflection. Though the vision is unobstructed and intimate, believers do not see a perfect representation of God’s glory now, but will one day (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). being transformed. A continual, progressive transformation (see note on Rom. 12:2). into the same image. As they gaze at the glory of the Lord, believers are continually being transformed into Christlikeness. The ultimate goal of the believer is to be like Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:12–14; 1 John 3:2), and by continually focusing on Him the Spirit transforms the believer more and more into His image. from glory to glory. From one level of glory to another level of glory—from one level of manifesting Christ to another. This verse describes progressive sanctification. The more believers grow in their knowledge of Christ, the more He is revealed in their lives (cf. Phil. 3:12–14).

3:12. Because the New Covenant is eternal its recipients had the certain hope of acceptance by God. This permitted Paul to be bold and candid in speech and action.

A major result of the New Covenant is freedom. Elsewhere Paul compared those under the Old Covenant to children of slavery and those under the New to children of freedom (Gal. 4:24–31). This freedom is possible because Christ has redeemed from the penalty of the Law those who believe so that they become children of God (Gal. 4:5–7). This freedom as children is confirmed by the Spirit, who enables Christians to call God Father (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).

3. v.17-18
New Testament 3:7–18—The Glory of Two Covenants

Greeks told many stories of people who became “metamorphosed” or “transformed,” but Greek philosophers spoke of being transformed toward divinity by contemplating divine things. The Dead Sea Scrolls spoke of the righteous reflecting divine splendor. But although Paul could be relating to his readers in such culturally relevant images (minus the divinization), the basis of his image is simply how Moses reflected God’s glory, as in the context. Those under the new covenant behold God’s glory even more plainly than Moses could (Ex 33:20); thus, like Moses, they are transformed to reflect God’s glory by the Spirit. On the “mirror” (NASB, NRSV) see comment on 1 Corinthians 13:12.

While Israel could not even look at Moses’ face without the aid of a veil (Ex. 34:33), Christians can now behold the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face. This experience is ours “through Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14). He himself is the answer to the question, how can we behold the glory of God? Jesus, the new temple, has given us full access to the presence of God “through his flesh” (Heb. 10:20), literally tearing the temple curtain that formerly acted as a barrier between a holy God and a sinful people (Matt. 27:51; Ex. 26:31–33).

The implications of this are profound. First, we have unlimited access to the very presence of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Second, in Christ we are given an unashamed boldness to enjoy our free and limitless access to God (v. 12). Third, this bold beholding of God’s glory is the very means that the Spirit uses to bring about our utter transformation into the image of God’s glory (v. 18). From start to finish, the believer is being transformed by God’s glory, for God’s glory, and into the image of God’s glory.

The Spirit gives believers freedom of access into God’s presence without fear, as well as freedom from bondage to sin, to death, and to the law as a means of acquiring righteousness.

As believers manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23), they are progressively being transformed (the same word Paul used in Rom. 12:2) into His likeness. Christlikeness is the goal of the Christian walk (Eph. 4:23–24; Col. 3:10). No wonder Paul said the New is far superior to the Old!

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