Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, refers to this in his
discussion about the glory of the old covenant versus the glory of the
new covenant. He addresses the danger of living by the letter,' or the
law, instead of living by the power of the Spirit and uses the story of
Moses and the veil as an analogy.
The veil represented the law that dulled people's hearts because they
were trying to earn their salvation by adhering to the rules but Paul
says, Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.' (2
Cor. 3:16) So, to believe that what Jesus did on the cross ushers us
into a new covenant of grace, means that there is nothing separating us
from intimacy with our Creator.
A form of godliness
It is possible to live as believers in God without being filled with
and empowered by his Spirit. In 2 Timothy it says that these people
Hold on to a form of Godliness but deny its power.' This is what it
means to live by the letter where we reduce God and limit the Spirit's
effectiveness in our lives.
Earlier in 2 Corinthians 3 Paul goes as far as to say that, the letter
kills but the Spirit gives life.' (3:6) This is not to say that there
is no truth in the teaching under the old covenant, but Jesus died so
that we could be free from the need to make atonement for our sin and
earn our salvation. To continue to live as slaves to that end brings
death and Jesus died that we might have life, Spirit-filled and
Paul goes on to say:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.' (3:17)
To be filled with and led by God's Spirit should mean that we walk in
freedom from all of the things that can so easily entangle us. If there
are areas of our lives where we are captive to fear, envy, doubt or sin
then we are not allowing God's Spirit to have authority. Our
circumstances may remain the same but we will have a quiet confidence
that no matter how hard things might be, we have the Spirit of the
living God fighting for us.
Paul says, Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.' (3:12) As we
begin to pray that the Spirit of God will fill and strengthen us, we
can be bold and courageous to do the things that he has called us to do.
Face to face
In continuing the analogy, Paul says that because of the glory of the new covenant we can all live with unveiled faces.'
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which
comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.' (3:18)
There is no need for us to cover our faces any more. There is no veil
to separate us from God and neither should there be anything to hold us
back from impacting our communities with the love of Jesus. As we are
transformed into God's likeness, the Spirit of God will flow from our
life into the lives of those around us. We should be the example of
freedom, hope and boldness to our countrymen who are so desperate for
something to believe in. God's glory and presence should be evident in
the way we live our lives.