Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: 949-599-4760
  • Email: 
  • Mailing Address: 21986 Mae Circle, Lake Forest, CA 92630

 

 

Permanent Glory in Christ

Feb 11, 2018

Passage: 2 Corinthians 3:12-13

Preacher: Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa

Category: Sunday, Epiphany

Detail:

In the Name of Jesus! Amen. We celebrate the Transfiguration of Our LORD today as Epiphany 2018 comes to close. The importance of the day is inestimable. The apostles’ Peter, James and John witnessed the glory of Christ before His passion and death. That is, even before the crucifixion a glimpse was given of the power of the One who would raise Himself from death. This is indeed the LORD who humbled Himself by taking on human flesh, but it is also the LORD who has all glory – doxa – or splendor. He is radiant, overflowing with power and light. Yes – from the standpoint of the Transfiguration – He would die, but no one with such glory as this could possibly remain dead. Death didn’t have a chance, but again, the point of the Transfiguration was to show the glory of the LORD, the glory, the glory, the glory.In the Name of Jesus! Amen. We celebrate the Transfiguration of Our LORD today as Epiphany 2018 comes to close. The importance of the day is inestimable. The apostles’ Peter, James and John witnessed the glory of Christ before His passion and death. That is, even before the crucifixion a glimpse was given of the power of the One who would raise Himself from death. This is indeed the LORD who humbled Himself by taking on human flesh, but it is also the LORD who has all glory – doxa – or splendor. He is radiant, overflowing with power and light. Yes – from the standpoint of the Transfiguration – He would die, but no one with such glory as this could possibly remain dead. Death didn’t have a chance, but again, the point of the Transfiguration was to show the glory of the LORD, the glory, the glory, the glory.

And this was what St. Paul was writing about leading up to our epistle. This is an important detail because our epistle as you see in our bulletin kind of starts mid-stream. To back up just a bit from where our epistle begins at verse 12 of 2nd Corinthians 3, let me show you a bit of context leading up to verse 12. Let’s consider verse 11 and please notice that St. Paul is indeed writing about glory in this context, the theme of the Transfiguration!

This is 2nd Corinthians 3, verse 11: “For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.”

OK, so St. Paul again is writing about glory, doxa, in the original. It is the sign that what is being beheld is the very glory of God and the power of God therein! This is the sign that sin, death, and the devil can’t win. This is the sign that God is in control and that God had and has the power of life over death!

But St. Paul is referring also to a glory that once came to an end (as contrasted to a permanent glory). What was he referring to? Here is the background from Exodus 34:

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face (verses 29-33).

Now we know exactly what St. Paul was referring to at the beginning of our epistle: “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end… (2nd Corinthians 3:12-13).”

Now put it together: St. Paul is saying that Moses did indeed have the glory of God upon his face, but he covered his face with a veil. Why? Because it was fading. It was temporary. It was not permanent, and Moses did not want the people of God to be unnecessarily discouraged (even if they were afraid). That glory – of the Old Testament before Jesus – faded. But St. Paul then points to the glory of the New Covenant. The focus now is not the great prophet Moses, but it is now the greater Savior and LORD Jesus Christ! Moses’ had his face radiate with the glory of God and it was fading, but now look at Christ! Our bulletin cover is an artistic rendition that the entire Christ is glorious – transfigured in glory; radiant in splendor – and not only did this glory completely envelope Him, but it also enveloped Moses and Elijah! They too were in the glory, a glimpse of the glory that you too – Christian – will experience in the presence of the LORD!

So now let me read one more time that little verse 11 from 2nd Corinthians 3 that was left out of our bulletin: “For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.”

The glory of Christ, the glory of your Savior, the glory of your LORD, is permanent and will never come to an end, and Christian, this glory will be given you; it is already guaranteed yours. And again, it is permanent. What can take it away? Can trial or hardship? No, these cannot remove your glory in Christ. Can cancer or injury? No, these cannot remove your glory in Christ. Can any chance, fluctuation, or unexpected event? No, these cannot remove your glory in Christ. Your glory in Christ is permanent. How did St. Paul respond to this truth that obviously also applied to himself and His fellow ministers of the Word? He writes by inspiration of the Spirit:

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart (2nd Corinthians 4:1).”

Think of all that St. Paul had to face in His service to God’s people! Later in 2nd Corinthians he wrote about some of his hardships:

“[I have had] far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (2nd Corinthians 11:23-28).”

And yet – in-spite all this – St. Paul says here in our epistle: “we do not lose heart.” How could he say this and mean it? One answer: St. Paul knew the glory of Christ that is permanent and now his own permanently. And nothing, but nothing could ever take this away. St. Paul and his fellow ministers were guaranteed the glory of God in Christ. Not even death could take it away.

So, this made St. Paul – even when confronted with his many weaknesses – very, very strong. So, Paul didn’t need to resort to cheap tricks and gimmicks. He renounced disgraceful and underhanded ways (2nd Cor 4:2). He and the other ministers he worked with refused to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word (2nd Cor 4:2). He didn’t worry about what was here today and gone tomorrow; he didn’t need the latest trend. All he needed was the gospel. All he needed was the Word of Christ. All he needed was The Glorious One, Jesus!

The ministry he conducted by God’s call and God’s empowering Holy Spirit was of permanent glory, and of the power of God. But why does it seem at times that this ministry is not effective? It has nothing to do with the efficacy of the gospel, but rather simply with those who reject it. When people choose to put upon themselves a veil. When they choose to put a block upon themselves against the glorious love and mercy of God in Christ. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2nd Corinthians 4:4).”

But Christians, this is not you. Back when Paul wrote this and was addressing the first century Christians, he said, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as LORD, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 4:5-6).”

Among other things, what was the practical effect of God giving the glory of His Son to us? So that we would receive the ministry of His Son through His servants so that they would also be our servants, so that the glory bestowed upon the office of Christ in the Church would radiate to you and to me: “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 4:6).” This light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been given to you dear Christian. That is, the permanent glory of Jesus Christ which has already defeated sin, and death, and the god of this world, has been given to you. It is yours as it is reflected from the face of Jesus Christ who now smiles upon you. Do you see how it works? The unfading permanent glory of Jesus has been given to His ministry here on earth so that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ would be extended to you!

Consider the benediction you hear at the end of every service: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).”

That is – again – the glory (the doxa) of Jesus is extended to you dear Christian. “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the LORD (Eph 5:8).” You are now in the light of Christ, in the permanent glory of the LORD. With this, you are radiant Christian! God no longer sees your sin, but only your light in Christ. Now, you are fully equipped to be the LORD’s, to relish His gifts, to rejoice in your salvation, and to share His WORD in His love…to extend His light…to tell others about His permanent glory so that others might also know their sins forgiven and their lives permanent and not at all fading. And even when hardships come, you are bold to remember your permanent glory in Christ so that it is not at all silly to say, “Therefore…we do not lose heart.” These things are yours, let us now shine!