December 13, 2021
Scripture: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV
Observation: Having touted the triumphant work of Christ that spreads the aroma of eternal life in his followers, in chapter 3, Paul now addresses the ministry of the Holy Spirit under this New Covenant. By comparing the Old Covenant law that leads to exposure of sin and death (that veiled Israel’s hardened hearts from beholding the glory of their Father), for those who follow Christ, he has removed the barrier (sin) once and for all. And his Holy Spirit graciously exposes our sins—written temporarily on the surface of our hearts rather than engraved in indelible stone. This same Spirit sets us free to behold our glorious Christ, all the while transforming us from glory to glory into the likeness of our good and gracious Brother.
Takeaway: The above verses describe what theologians call the glorification of the saints. While the Father covered the penalty for our sins through the substitutionary sacrifice of his Son’s life, the Holy Spirit’s role is to deliver us from the present power of sin by transforming us into the likeness of his Son. How? As we submit to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, more and more, he sets us free from sin’s power to mar the image of God by replacing our destructive habits with godly ones. Indeed, it is the Holy Spirit who pricks our consciences and exposes our blind spots fettered by sin, who works through the community of believers to support, encourage, and hold us accountable, and who provides escape routes from our temptations. And as we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, we waft the fragrance of the eternally “living” and shine Christ’s light brighter and brighter each step of the way—unveiled and glorious.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving us your Son as our means of freedom from the deathly burden of sin. Would you please help us to cooperate with your Holy Spirit as he transforms us from worldly ways to your way of holy living that reveals the glory of your Son? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling