Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nostalgia and Glory

One of the things that i like and at the same time dislike about being British is our psion for the past. Our love of saying 'things aren't what they used to be', the way we hark back to the fifties, or late fourties, or sixties, or whenever as a golden age. A time when kids respected their parents, people worked hard and politicians were honest. I'm pretty sure that this has always been the way of people, just as i'm pretty sure that this 'golden age' never actually existed... But thats the way people are.

It's sure not the way Paul was. I was reading in my Bible study recently 2 Corinthians 3, and it was verses 7-9 that really stood out for me this time:

Now if(P) the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory(Q) that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in(R) the ministry of condemnation,(S) the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory

Paul starts by looking back...which sounds pretty nostalgic doesn't it? He's talking about the Law, given at Sinai, where Moses' face shone after he had been with God. This was the ministry of death, carved on stone, but still it came with glory. Even the reflected glory shining from Moses was unbearable to look at. And yet this covenant, this ministry was carved on stone, and saved no one, not because it wasn't a poor covenant, but because it was never God's plan to save by works. It was being brought to an end, but it still had great glory.

But what of the new Covenant? Well surely, says Paul, is what was passing away had glory, will that which never passes away not have more glory? If, as Paul reasons perfectly logically, there was glory in what bought condemnation, surely there is more glory in that which brings life. How amazing it is to live this side of the cross, to know what Kings and Prophets longed to know (Luke 10:24). And how good it is to know how to persue holiness, through getting to know this awesome God, this awesome covenent, and this awesome plan. I love how simple the Bible makes things!

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