Whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
In today’s text Paul explains why those who have not received and accepted Christ do not see clearly as those who have. The text says: But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; This veil which lies over the heart of those who do not know Christ causes them to respond to God’s law, His commandments and His revelation of truth and righteousness in one of two ways. They either hear the law, the commandments of God and they try to measure up to the commandments, striving to be good and righteous, in their own strength. Unfortunately since the beginning of time man has been unable to do that. When God only had one commandment for Adam and Eve, they were unable to abide by it. Before there were huge populations, before there were drugs, before there were guns, Cain killed his brother Abel. Romans 3:23 says: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God The law, God’s commandments are unable to change the hearts of men. The law cannot take evil, self satisfying desires from the heart of man, it can only cause us, if we choose to see, to know that we do not measure up to God’s righteousness.
The other veil which some allow to be over the hearts, is that because man cannot measure up to God’s standard of righteousness, as demonstrated through His commandments, they reason that if they deny God, then His commandments do not apply to them. The very acknowledgement of God, makes man, a lesser being, subject to the superior being. Since they are unable and unwilling to submit to God’s standard, they deny that He exists. They then create their own standards and morality. Their standards are sometimes in keeping with society and the current culture and sometimes completely self defined. In either instance the standards of morality are never stationary and unchanging, like God’s. Human conduct regulated by human ideals changes according to human desires. In Romans 1:18-25 Paul describes the error of this line of reasoning, the veil over the hearts of those who chose to deny God. the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Many who claim to not believe in God, reject and blame religion. The thing is though in their denial of God, they themselves become very religious. In faith, they believe many unproven, unseen human theories about creation. They deny the obvious fact that a created thing means there must be a creator. Something does not come from nothing. Rather than acknowledge, and so become subject to God, the creator, they worship creation, the universe, the earth, animals, the sun, the moon and the stars. They worship other people’s ideas and ideals or they worship other people or they worship themselves.
There is nothing we as believers can really do to change their minds, to remove either the veil of legalism or the veil of denying God from the hearts of others. Our debates and our words will not change them. We will not convince them. The text says: but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We, all people, have been created by God with a free will, an ability to choose for ourselves what we will believe and what we will do with God’s revealed standard of righteousness. We cannot choose for others, neither can we change their minds. 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 says: the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. What then can we do in order to help to remove the veil from the hearts of others? The key is in what the text says: but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. So salvation, redemption, restoration come to those who believe in Christ. But the veil is removed from the hearts of those who turn to Him. We cannot make others believe. Only the Spirit can cause others to discern spiritual things. We though can be a revelation of Christ in and to the world. We can be part of what causes them to turn to Christ. Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Today’s text ends saying: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. We who have seen and behold the glory of the Lord are being transformed. We are being made like Him. May we use the liberty we have in Christ, through His Spirit, to live and speak as a revelation of Christ to others, that they may turn and have the veil removed from their hearts and see and glorify the Father in heaven.
ThankYou heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit for removing the veil from my heart, for allowing me to see, to believe, to know that You, Jesus are my Lord and Savior. You are the only way for me to measure up to God’s righteousness. As I continue to behold Your glory and goodness, as I am transformed from glory to glory, may I also, by Your Spirit, live as light to others, that they may see and turn to You, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen