* You can now watch a video of this message at: https://new.livestream.com/rickpina/live.
This morning we continue our series, “Grace that is Simply Amazing” by continuing with our new mini-series, “The Purpose of the Cross.” For the last few messages we have been working our way through a passage in 2 Corinthians 3. Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.
The Apostle Paul said,
“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are-face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” (2 Cor 3:16-18 Message Bible).
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. Jesus put the focus on a living God instead of pieces of chiseled stone. Paul said, “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are-face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone.” Under the Old Covenant only a handful of people had direct access to God and the focus was on the Law, written on tablets of stone. However, because of Jesus, we now have direct access to the Father and we get to experience Him as a living and personal presence. This relationship with the living God is what changes lives to the point where we are never the same.
2. Jesus made the legislative nature of the Old Covenant obsolete. Paul said, “When God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us!” When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and you have access to God in a personal, intimate and powerful way, you quickly realize that there is no need to focus on rules, regulations or laws. God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit, lives INSIDE you, and He is more than capable of leading you in the way you should go. He will tell you to do much more than 10 Laws ever could. This is what Adam had in the Garden. Adam lost it and Jesus had to die to restore our access to the Holy Spirit.
3. There is nothing between us and God. Paul said, “Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face.” Under the Old Covenant the common Israelite had to rely on priests or prophets in order to hear from God. The presence of God was confined to the Temple, behind the veil, in the Holy of Holies; and the only person with access to the presence of the Lord was High Priest, who could only go in once a year. But praise God for Jesus! Because of Jesus the veil was torn, the Holy Spirit no longer lives in the Temple made of stone, we are now the Temple of God and the Holy Spirit lives IN us. We have direct access to the Father, in the name of His Son Jesus, through the connection we have in the Holy Spirit. We don’t need a priest or a prophet to do it for us, we can go to God and commune with Him directly.
4. As we grow in Christ we become more and more like Him. Paul said, “So we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” The more you walk with God the more you will be changed — from faith to faith, from glory to glory — into the image and likeness of Christ. This change will not happen overnight, but it will happen. Jesus suffered, bled, died and rose from the dead, so that you could be JUST LIKE HIM! Jesus wants you to continue what He started in the earth. You are the continuation of His incarnation. The more you are changed, the more people will see Jesus in you.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for teaching me the Purpose of the Cross. I can now see why Jesus had to die. Under the Old Covenant Your people were confined to rules, regulations and laws. Under the Old Covenant the common Israelite had no direct access to You. Under the Old Covenant the focus was on a Law You chiseled on tablets of stone. Under the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit was confined behind the veil in the Temple. Thank You Father for sending Jesus to die to offer us a new and better Covenant. The veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, indicating that You ripped it with Your own hands. The Holy Spirit no longer lives in a Temple made of stone. I am now the temple of God and the Holy Spirit lives IN me. I no longer focus on external laws chiseled on stone. I focus on hearing from the Holy Spirit, living my life from the inside-out, enjoying the access I have to my loving and living heavenly Father, and my relationship with You Father is changing me daily. From faith to faith. From glory to glory. Little by little, day by day, I am become more and more like Jesus. I enter this day confident because I know You are IN me, WITH me and FOR me. There is no way I can lose! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.