UNVEILING THE GLORY OF GOD IN OUR LIVES
“Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains uplifted, because it is removed in Christ.
But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
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.”
( 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NAS )
There is one very significant place in the Old Testament where a veil is mentioned. In Exodus chapter 34, when Moses comes down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments we are told that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
This was the lingering radiance of the glory of God. But when the people saw it, they were so afraid that they ran away! So, Moses put a veil over his face to hide the radiance, But whenever he entered the Lord's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out.
These are the events that the Apostle Paul picks up on in our reading from 2 Corinthians chapter three. In this passage Paul uses the image of the veil to make two very important points.
First, that there is no veil between the Christian and God.
When we come to Jesus, the veil is transferred, taken away from us, laid on Jesus, so that we can know God. The veil was our sin.
“But your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
( Isaiah 59:2 )
Second, there should be no veil between the Christian and the world.
The whole thrust of Paul's argument in the surrounding verses is that the Christian's duty is to show God's glory to the world.
Moses veiled his face to hide God's glory because the people were terrified. But we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.
Paul uses the word "reflect" — God's glory shines on our faces, and that glory in turn is reflected to shine on the world.
But we are not like normal mirrors. A normal mirror reflects the light, however strong, but it always remains the same, just a mirror.
As we reflect the Lord's glory we are changed ourselves, transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory. As we gaze upon Christ we are transformed to be like him.
The point that Paul is making is that we must not keep this transformation hidden from the world. God's glory is shone to be seen!
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
( Matthew 5:14-16 )
This light is not generated by us, but it is the light of God's glory reflecting in our unveiled faces and transformed lives.
So, unlike Moses, we must lift the veil that covers our faces and hides the glory of God in our lives.
“And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” ( Mark 15:38 )
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God abides in us. (1Corinthians 3:16)
We have a responsibility to live holy, set apart lives so nothing will veil the glory of God in our lives.
A bride at a traditional wedding will enter the church wearing a veil. As she joins the groom at the front the veil will be taken away, and the whole congregation can see how beautiful she is.
It would be odd for her to stay veiled throughout, wouldn't it? On the day she is at her most beautiful, she wants everyone to see that beauty.
The veil is designed to be taken away; her beauty is there to be seen. In the same way, we need to unveil our faces to show God's glory to the world.
Some ways we veil the glory of God
-When I am grumbling towards others I have veiled the glory of God in my life.
-When I judge, or criticize, or gossip I have veiled the glory of God in my life.
-When I fail to keep a promise, or fail to do the good God has prompted me to do, then I am veiling the glory of God in my life.
-When I scowl instead of smiling, or when I am withdrawn, I am veiling the glory of God in my life.
-When I put myself first, or am inconsiderate to others I have lowered the veil again, and hidden the work God is doing in my life.
-When I am living in willful sin, then I am veiling the glory of God in my life.
The unveiling of the glory of God in our lives will be a shining light upon a lost and needy world. Our greatest aim should be that there is nothing in my life that will become a veil keeping the glory of God from emanating from us.