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The Glory Shining on the Face of Christ

Submitted by on Thursday, 11 June 2009No Comment


The discourse about the fading glory shining on the face of Moses continues here. It will end in 4:6 where Paul points to the real glory: the one that shines in the face of Christ. It is because of this that Paul, like the other ministers of the new covenant, are bold. Moses, the minister of the old covenant had to cover his face; “he could not look at the cessation of what was fading” (3:13). Even now, the Jews whenever they read the Scriptures have their faces covered by a veil. Only when they turn to the Lord (Jesus) will the veil be taken away (3:15-16). With the Lord is freedom. Those who contemplate the glory on his face is transformed into his image (v. 18). Paul will pick up this thought about being renewed into the image of the Lord in 4:16 as he describes the “death” that the minister of the new covenant goes through daily (4:7-12). And it is precisely because of the stability and firmness of the glory shining in the face of Christ that he is not only bold but also sincere in his work, and is not discouraged when adversity arises.

Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2Corinthians 4:1-2)

Sincerity, integrity, transparency. These are the qualities that Paul has been showing in contrast to his rivals who have been making use of “legal means” — letters of commendation from the Jerusalem Church — to endear themselves to the Corinthian community. Note that in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4, part of Paul’s “severe letter”, he strongly rebukes the Corinthians for changing their loyalty as to the gospel preached to them. On the other hand, Paul’s rivals do not share his gospel, the gospel of the freedom that Christ has won and given to Christians as a birthright in the power of the Spirit. Paul counters by saying that his gospel remains veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds have been blinded by the “god of this age” and therefore cannot see the light “of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (4:4), He preaches “Christ” while his rivals preach themselves. In his “severe letter”, Paul even calls them “false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ” (11:13).

The gospel of the new covenant that Paul preaches is the gospel of the glory shining on the face of Christ. It is life for those who believe and gives its minister boldness, and a firm hope in the face of adversity and suffering. Paul, perhaps, may have been over zealous in his dealings with the Corinthians, but that is only because whatever failings he may have as a human being is for all to see. He does not hide behind signed documents. He shows himself to the Corinthians as he appears under the light shining on the face of Christ.

St. Barnabas

Today is the feast of St. Barnabas. Below are some links to pages about him

2 Corinthians 11:1-4
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me.
2For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel which you have not received; you might well bear with him.

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