One was a mountain the other was a hill. On the mountain, the commandments were given that they might be obeyed. On the hill, the price for disobedience and transgression was paid. On the mountain, God thundered, “You shall . . . You shall not!” On the hill, God cried, “Father, forgive them . . . It is finished!” What transpired on the mountain, would eventually pass away . . . what transpired on the hill remains for all eternity. The ministry ushered in on the mountain, one dependent on man’s best efforts, could only lead to bondage, death, and condemnation. But the ministry revealed on the hill, empowered by the Spirit of the Living God, results in freedom, life, and righteousness. And, while what happened on the mountain came with glory, what happened on the hill revealed the glory . . . and by it’s very nature, is much more glorious!
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. (2Corinthians 3:7-11 ESV)
The gospel is glorious! The ministry of the new covenant is not only shrouded in glory, not only does it reveal the glory, it welcomes all who believe into His glory.
In Paul’s contrast of the old and the new, he is not declaring that what transpired on the mountain was bad . . . but that it was never intended to be the final answer. It served to reveal the problem. Given of God . . . it was accompanied by God’s glory. But, as evidenced on the face of Moses, it was a fading glory (3:13). And in comparison to the glory to be revealed in the New Covenant, its glory passes.
The glory of the “ministry of the Spirit” . . . the glory of the “ministry of righteousness” . . . the glory of the gospel, that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1Cor. 15:3-4), is a surpassing glory . . . intrinsically possessing the very essence of glory. What transpired on the hill made way for the glory to not just be evidenced on our face, but for our face, and the rest of us, to have eternal access into the glory . . . into the very presence of God . . . to boldly approach His throne of grace.
And this, my friends, is much more glorious!
Sometimes I wonder if, because what happened on the hill has become so familiar to us over the years, that we sometimes fail to see the glory. If because of all the distractions associated with just doing life . . . . if because, in our busyness, even in our ministry within the body of Christ, that we fail to take time, sit back, and reflect upon the ministry of the Spirit . . . the ministry of righteousness — Another’s righteousness gifted to us by grace alone . . . and, as such, we miss the glory.
Not this morning . . . thanx to Paul’s writings and the Spirit’s leading.
Praise God for the hill . . . for the cross . . . for the empty tomb!