We have been talking about walking in the light of our Lord and Saviour’s countenance. It is light that changes us, as Paul shows when he compares the glory of the old covenant with that of the new.
Moses when he came down from the mountain after communing with God did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him (Ex. 34.29). When the people saw him they shielded their eyes, could not look steadily into his face, could no more look on his face than look at the sun.
But then the glory on Moses’ face began to fade. So he covered his face. He could not let the people see the fading glory—and he refused to minister without that glory. So he went into the tent he had set up, and took the veil off while he communed further with the Lord. Then, recharged as it were, he would come out and talk with the people again, till the glory began to fade again.
What Moses did was prophetic of the whole dispensation of the old covenant—and also of the blindness of the hearts of the people under that covenant. Paul called the old covenant a “ministration of death” that would one day come to its end; its glory would come to an end. But tragically, most of those who were bound under that covenant refused to acknowledge that it was over; there was a veil upon their hearts that prevented them from seeing that the Sinai covenant was history.
For, God had brought in a new covenant—one whose glory was never going to fade. Those who drew nigh to God by this covenant would, with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ, and be transformed “into the same image from glory to glory.”
“To this day,” grieved Paul, that same veil remained on their hearts in the reading of the old testament. We may well say in our day it is still there—even in the reading of the new testament. For “the letter” of the Scriptures has no power to change; it is “the Spirit that gives life” (2 Cor. 3.6).
And so Paul adds this:
Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away (2 Cor. 3.16).
He has in mind Moses returning to commune with the Lord, and taking away the veil while he talked with Him.
Let us not miss what Paul says next. With apostolic authority and Holy Spirit inspiration, he brings this old testament picture right up into the new covenant. “Now the Lord,” he says, referring to this passage about Moses returning to commune with the Lord, “is the Spirit…”
It is in unveiling our hearts to the Spirit of the Lord that we discover the shining face of the Lord Himself.
And in this light what do we discover?
“…And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
What does he mean—liberty? This. The covenant of the law was a covenant that “gendereth to bondage” (Gal. 4.24). The Sinai covenant brought forth children of bondage. It was “a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5.1). Rather than liberating from sin, it actually intensified sin in the heart of man, and brought them deeper into captivity to the law of sin and death (Rom. 7.23). But the new covenant—the perfect law of liberty—minsters grace to the hearers and sets them free from the law of sin and death, empowering them with the quickening power of Life to do the will of God. As Paul says in another place—and I wonder sometimes if this is not the most wondrous verse in the Bible:
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death.
The new covenant walk is a walk in the Spirit, a walk in the light of His countenance. A walk in liberty. A transforming walk.
…Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a glass (mirroring) the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord (that is, the Lord the Spirit).
This is what the light of His countenance does as we walk in it. It is new covenant light that changes us into the same image we see in the mirror. It is true light, making true in us what is true in Him (1 Jn. 2.8).
Let us keep looking into this mirror!
This is wonderful truth Allan. My heart says yes to this. I find that my heartfelt response is to say “yes Lord”. That I may walk in these truths and know the reality if it. I do not have a lengthy response. Just a thank you for sharing what I feel in my heart yearning. To walk in the countenance of Jesus. Amen.
“The quickening power to do the will”….this statement has really struck me as I read over the piece again.
This is what walking “in the Light” is all about. I believe that walking in the light is one and the same with walking in the Spirit. “What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (did) sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (a sin offering) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8.3,4). There is quickening (life-giving) power in the Spirit– in the Light (it is new-covenant light)– that enables us, empowers us, to walk in the will of God. It is a walk of rest– walking in the works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
I just cry brother when I read this. The beauty of Christ and His loveliness. To be fully His, to be found in Him. To walk in His ways. To be lost in Him. That our “self” life might be consumed by His life.
Amen, Martin. Oh, to see His glory. We are not to wait to Heaven to see His glory. It begins now. It is the glory-light that changes us– into the same image. So that others, in seeing you and me, see HIM.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
May His glory divine
Change this nature of mine
Till the beauty of Jesus is seen in me.
(I’ve changed the words a little.)
2 Cor 4 v 1 and v 8-12
Whatever we feel, we are encouraged to lift up our eyes to the hills from where comes our Salvation. To fix our eyes on Jesus and continue to run the race.
“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus` sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal bodies”.
What a statement…”we are always being given over to death”. Not only is the life of Christ at work in us, but so too is His death. This is what we say when we are baptised in water. We have died in Him. This is an on-going and continual death. I can understand why the Gospel of death is by-passed in seeker friendly churches.
It’s interesting in that passage you quoted from, Martin, that Paul says, “we who are alive…” He is not talking about mere mortal life. An ordinary mortal who is given over unto death… well, that is the end of him. But those who are alive with the life of Christ in them, when these are delivered unto death, they discover the Life within being revealed, or “made manifest,” that is, shining forth. Thus, the one who has the power of death (the Devil) is utterly undone. God uses that one’s own weapon to destroy him! This is what is meant by “being made conformable to HIS death. His death is the death of one who had Life in Him, and, submitted to the Cross. (With what result?) This is what Paul meant by saying, “Death worketh in us, but life in you.” So, as you said, His death works in us, and His life too.
Another way to look at this is the example of the seed. If I plant a little stick in the earth it will disintegrate and nothing else will happen. But if I plant a seed (which has life in it) it will disintegrate, but then a miracle takes place. The life that was locked in that seed is manifested. Oh, that the Church– we who are Alive– would learn God’s ways– the way of the Cross! How soon would we see the Devil confounded by all His own devices!
That’s a very powerful picture Allan; of the seed. The life is there in the seed. The potential for a mighty oak tree is already there. As you say, its all there within the Church. I see that the enemy has been truly confounded by the Cross and it has made a public spectacle of his works. Today I have been reading the parable of the sower and the seeds. How vital it is that the Church immerse itself in the truth. The “true” truth to coin a phrase. There is so much contention over what the true soil actually consists of these days. Men turn and churn the true soil and add to it as it seems and dilute it with their ways and interpretations. I am very grateful that in my search for exposition of the true soil of the Word and in my desire to walk in His Light and the light of His truth I have met with you brother.
For the last group of people in Mark 4:20 and Luke 8:15 there is an addressing of the issue of the true believer bearing fruit. How I feel the need to have shown forth much more fruit in my life. As another year draws to and end I look forward to the year to come and trust and pray that I will show forth more of His Light to this dying world. This is my hearts desire. I hear so much sad news in the world and so much need and I feel so powerless. So much injustice. How I long for the Lords true justice to be made manifest in the earth. Oh for the quickening of the great and mighty day of the Lord.
Amen, Martin, as to your hope for the coming year. I pray that as “we who are alive” walk in the Way of the Cross, it will cause a shining forth of the life of Jesus in us, something that confounds all the hosts of darkness and their works of darkness. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” That’s what the Devil did in conspiring to crucify the Son of God. He (the Devil) planted a seed. Paul calls it the hidden wisdom of God, which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Amen. Let us keep looking in that mirror…..and resolve to die a bit more each day.
Ezekiel 34. I have just had a deep personal revelation of the Lord’s goodness in my life through this chapter. That He Himself is seeking out those bruised by the false church systems of these days.
That is a tremendous chapter, Martin. I read it often. “I, even I Myself…” That is the LORD speaking. He will have shepherds who are so one with Him that it is He Himself who is seeking and leading His sheep. As you said, there are many lost sheep in the “church system” in this hour. I know there are many lost shepherds there, too. They love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts and are doing His will as best they know how. I truly believe the Lord is seeking them, too. Just as in the days of Saul. As Saul’s kingdom crumbled, more and more of the leadership who had followed him gravitated to David. David was a true shepherd. Thus we find him guiding the flock into the same relationship he himself enjoyed: “The LORD is my shepherd…”