Today we continue our mini-series entitled “A New Dimension of Glory!” This series is under the overall theme for the year: “GREAT FREEDOM.” A couple of messages ago I introduced you to a passage in 2 Corinthians 3. Let’s get back to it today.
(2 Corinthians 3:7-18 Easy to Read Version)
7 The old agreement that brought death, written with words on stone, came with God’s glory. In fact, the face of Moses was so bright with glory (a glory that was ending) that the people of Israel could not continue looking at his face.
8 So surely the new agreement that comes from the life-giving Spirit has even more glory.
9 This is what I mean: That old agreement judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the new agreement that makes people right with God has much greater glory.
10 That old agreement had glory. But it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of the new agreement.
11 If the agreement that was brought to an end came with glory, then the agreement that never ends has much greater glory.
12 We are so sure of this hope that we can speak very openly.
13 We are not like Moses, who put a covering over his face. He covered his face so that the people of Israel would not see it. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end.
14 But their minds were closed. And even today, when those people read the writings of the old agreement, that same covering hides the meaning. That covering has not been removed for them. It is taken away only through Christ.
15 Yes, even today, when they read the Law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds.
16 But when someone changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away.
17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And our faces are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Today we are going to focus in on the line:
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. The New Agreement (or Covenant) makes you right with God.
2 Cor 3:9 says, “This is what I mean: That old agreement judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the new agreement that makes people right with God has much greater glory.”
a) The Old Covenant introduced the rules. Once humans had rules to break, we were quick to break them. In this way, Paul explains, the Old Agreement made people guilty of sin. Said another way, rules could not make us right, but the rules were introduced to show us how wrong we are. The Old Agreement served its purpose. We knew we were sinners and we realized we needed a Savior. That Savior came, His name is Jesus, and He ushered us into a New Agreement.
b) Paul tells us that this New Agreement makes us right with God. We are not right because of what we do or what we fail to do. We are only right because of what Jesus did. Earlier in this same letter, Paul said it this way: “For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.” (2 Cor 5:21 TPT). God put our sin on Jesus and He put Jesus’ righteousness of us! That is good news. That’s the gospel!
c) This year I am teaching on Freedom and one of the main things followers of Jesus must become free from is the pressure to perform. Performance-based religion puts the emphasis on YOU and what you do, instead of on Jesus what He has ALREADY DONE for us. I was raised in a church that focused on performance-based religion and I spent the first 23 years of my life trying to get to the point where I felt like I was “right” with God. I was taught that my righteousness was based on my works, so I spent my life trying to do everything right, in my own power and strength. This, of course, was a futile effort. If I could earn my righteousness, Jesus would not have had to die. I could never be perfect. But Jesus was perfect FOR me. I now realize that His perfection and His righteousness were imputed (attributed to assigned to me) when I accepted Jesus as Lord. I am now free from the pressure to perform. I can simply accept the righteousness provided to me through Christ Jesus, my Lord. I pray you come to the same realization, so you can live free from religion and religious activity.
2. The New Agreement (or Covenant) will never end.
2 Cor 3:11 says, “If the agreement that was brought to an end came with glory, then the agreement that never ends has much greater glory.”
a) Paul says that the Old Agreement was “brought to an end.” The writer of Hebrews said, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete.” (Hebrews 8:13). It is honestly upsetting to me that I spent so many years in a church, growing up, living under a system that was obsolete before I was born. As a child, no one ever taught me the differences between the Old and New Agreements. The New Agreement we have in Christ, ratified in His own blood, is liberating. There is a tremendous freedom that comes when you fully embrace everything Jesus died to usher you into. You have been declared righteousness, because of what Jesus did. You are filled with the same Holy Spirit Jesus had. You are called according to your individual and unique divine purpose. And you are truly FREE to live as the man/woman God called you to be.
b) A great reassurance we have in Christ Jesus is that this agreement, the New Covenant, will never end. While the first one was superseded, the Bible tells us that this Agreement “never ends.” I bring this up because we sometimes enjoy a great arrangement or agreement at work, or in business, only to later have the agreement come to an end. The good news is that this Agreement will never end. You can rest assured that the benefits you embrace as a New Covenant believer will be in place for eternity. That is GREAT NEWS!
3. When you are in Christ you are right with God and you have no fear of losing this righteousness.
When you know you have been declared the righteousness of God in Christ, and you know this agreement will never be changed or come to an end, you can enter into God’s rest. At this point, you are no longer living your life trying to earn God’s righteousness. You are also at peace because when you do make a mistake, you know you cannot disqualify yourself from something you never qualified for in the first place. You simply embrace the grace to live as the man/woman God called you to be. You live every day being led by the Holy Spirit in all things. You don’t take on any pressure to perform. And you truly are FREE! This is the way we are supposed to live.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I am FREE! I am in Christ. Christ is in me. I know that my sin was placed on Jesus and His righteousness was placed on me. I am the righteousness of God by faith, not my performance. I don’t take on any pressure to perform. I am free from religion and religious activity. I am forgiven of sin. I am covered with the Blood of Jesus. I am filled with Your Spirit. I am called by Your name. I am living my life in pursuit of Your purpose. I can do all things by Your grace. And this arrangement/agreement will never be changed! That is good news! I AM FREE! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!