Glory: Past and Present

Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

If what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 2 Corinthians 3:11

Paul wrote at a period in history when the ages were overlapping. The New Covenant of grace had come in, but the temple services were still being carried on, and the nation of Israel was still living under law. In AD 70, the city of Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed by the Romans, and that would mark the end of the Jewish religious system.

The Judaizers wanted the Corinthian believers to go back under the law, to "mix" the two covenants. "Why go back to that which is temporary and fading away?" Paul asked. "Live in the glory of the New Covenant, which is getting greater and greater." The glory of the law is but the glory of past history, while the glory of the New Covenant is the glory of present experience.

The glory of the law was fading in Paul's day, and today that glory is found only in the records in the Bible. The nation of Israel has no temple or priesthood. If they did build a temple, there would be no shekinah glory dwelling in the Holy of Holies. The law of Moses is a religion with a most glorious past, but it has no glory today. The light is gone; all that remain are the shadows (see Col. 2:16-17).

But the ministry of grace is internal (see 2 Cor. 3:1-3); it brings life (see vv. 4-6), and it involves increasing glory (see vv. 7-11).

Applying God's Truth:

1. Do you know people who try to focus more on Old Testament law (rules and regulations) than on the New Covenant of grace? How do they do so?
2. What are some temporal things that people try to "glory" in?
3. In your own life, do you tend to dwell more on the "light" of past accomplishments than in the "glory" of the here and now? Explain.

Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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