2nd Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 13
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|First of all, walking and living in the freedom of the Spirit means the passion to speak without fear. Oh, my. When Christ lives in us and is allowed to live through us, His Spirit in us gives us an incredible not only ability to speak boldly the message of Christ, but the motivation to do it. Servants of a New Covenant – Part 4|
Living In the Freedom of the Spirit
Okay, 2 Corinthians 3:11-18. Actually, our focus text will be 12-18, but we’re going to look at verse 11 here in a bit. This is the fourth message in what I call “Servants of a New Covenant.” Paul introduced that in verse 6 and we’ve been preaching through 2 Corinthians just taking a series at a time as we adopt his thoughts that he’s given to us. Today we want to talk about living in the freedom of the Spirit. Don’t you just like the sound of that?
Now, let me get you back into the flow just for a second or two. In our text the apostle Paul, when he was falsely accused by these false teachers of Law in Corinth, there were other false teachers there but particularly these, he didn’t really defend himself. If you’ll notice carefully he defended the doctrine on which he stood. Now, I know I’m getting up there in age, I’m not that old yet. I’ll be 62 in July so it’s not that bad, but getting older is not for sissies. I just wanted you to know that. But you know, one of the things I’m noticing and I’m noticing it nationwide and everywhere, doctrine is not that important to people anymore.
And, you know, that’s a sad testimony of where we are in our spiritual growth. Doctrine is what defines us. Yes, Jesus is our foundation, but in another sense it’s also foundational. You see, if you don’t know what your doctrine is, you have no message to share with anybody. And when Paul was ever accused, he didn’t defend himself, like I said, he stood on the doctrine of which he preached and which held him up. Well, evidently there were those who circulated around Corinth that were preaching the Law and they said they came there with letters of recommendation. This all started back in 3:1-3. And as a result of this they criticized Paul and accused him. He didn’t have letters of recommendation when he went to Corinth. Well, naturally. If you look in the book of Acts, when he went to Corinth he didn’t go to start a church, he went to Corinth in order to make tents. But God was so using him and His hand was so upon him, the church of Corinth began and he had to tell them, “You are my letter of recommendation.”
See, this was their way of tearing down the messenger so they could slip in their message of Law. But Paul was confident that his ministry was authentic. Now why would that be? How could he have such confidence that his ministry was authentic? Because he knew that his adequacy was not of him; his adequacy was of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he says that in verse 5. He says, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” You see, Paul was a servant of a new covenant which verse 6 says was built on better promises. It says in verse 6, “who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
Now the difference in the confidence and his ministry and the confidence of those who served an old covenant, a covenant of Law, is absolutely incredible. Now to illustrate this, the apostle Paul, from 7-11, uses the word “glory” ten different times to contrast this confidence. Paul showed us in verse 7 how when the old covenant, the covenant of Law was given to Moses, yes, it came with glory. Now before I go any further let’s make sure we remember what glory is. It’s the word that means to bring true recognition to someone, whether it be visibly or verbally. In other words, we ought to live daily to when people look at us they see who He is, not who we are; they’re not interested in us. And to make sure we’re a reflection of His glory.
Well, the example we gave was of somebody being out in the sunshine, in the presence of the sun, and the glory of the sun gets upon their skin and it’s called sunburn and when they walk away from the sun, that glory begins to fade. Just like Moses: Moses had to go to the top of the mountain to be in the presence of God. And God took His divine finger, Exodus tells us, and wrote on those tablets of stone the Ten Commandments. And when he came off that mountain, it showed that he’d been in the presence of God because the glory, like the sunburn from being in the presence of the sun, the glory shone on his face. His face reflected and radiated the glory of God.
But here’s the problem: it was external and temporary only. You see, just like when we get away from the sun, the glory of the sun fades away and that glory began to fade. And since the glory on Moses’ face was fading, this caused Moses to wear a veil over his face and it tells you why. He didn’t want the people to lose confidence in his leadership. He didn’t want them to see that the glory was fading in his face. It says in verse 13, “and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel,” and some people mistakenly think that it was so great they couldn’t look at him. That’s not it at all. He says, “might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.”
So there was no confidence there. He knew that the covenant would put people to death. It killed; it condemned, and the glory faded away. But Paul was in total confidence because he was a servant of a new covenant. In his ministry, the glory of God had come to live in him and never faded away. It was not just upon him; it was in him. Paul says the old covenant was with glory, but the new covenant was in glory, in verse 11. He says, “For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.” Christ is the glory of God. He comes to live in the lives of believers and His glory never fades away. His glory is in us ever seeking to manifest itself through us so that people will look at us. And there’s no veil hiding it; they look at us and they see the glory that is not fading away. His glory is manifested by His power.
You say, “How do I know His glory?” Every time you experience Him you’re experiencing His glory, His presence, and you’re changed from glory to glory. That’s what the Christian life is all about. It’s not a game. It’s not something we add to our schedule every week. It’s our whole life, it’s our breath, it’s everything, and the more we are in His presence, the more we behold Him as you’ll see in the text later on, the more we’re going to be transformed by His glory. What an awesome thing that is to begin to understand His glory lives in us and never fades away.
In one of the conferences we did there in Romania, there were three or four former Greek Orthodox priests that were there. They had come and had received Christ and as a result of that they were excommunicated in their church. They were accused of apostasy of all things and one of them read the letter that was sent to him all because he received Jesus into his heart. After I finished the message on preaching Christ in you, the hope of glory, he stood up and said, “I’ve got to say something.”
And he began to share. And he said, “When I was a priest, we began to wonder why is it we can’t get anything done. Everything is cold, everything is manufactured, there’s no life, and for all those years, but now that I’ve become a believer and now that I’ve heard the message, I know what the difference is. The glory of God, the grace of God, Jesus has come to live in us. That’s what the difference in the repenters [which they call believers] and the people in our church. Jesus made the difference. He comes to live in us.” The veil has been taken away from these fellows. They saw it, God revealed Himself in the gospel.
Well, let’s look and see what God wants us to understand today about being servants of a new covenant and living in the freedom of the Spirit. I want you to look at verse 11 before we get into it. One phrase I want to point out to you. It says in verse 11 again, “For if that which fades away was with glory.” Now, that term “fades away” needs to be understood. Some of you, I know, you wonder why I take it into the Greek and all, but I want to tell you, this is what unlocks the door. It’s present middle passive. Fading away, present means it’s in the process. But middle passive is an important verb to understand; a certain type of a verb. If I tell this piano right here, “Piano, you get yourself over here.” Now, you know and I know that the piano has no ability in itself to do what I’ve asked it to do.
So they put it middle passive, and even the middle voice has this same idea, that when you put it that way, they would have understood immediately that something has got to enable that to happen. So when it says the old is fading away, something is enabling it to fade away. And you say, “What is that?” Well, we’re going to see in our text today, if the Lord Jesus Christ, when a person comes to receive Christ, then and only then has that Law faded away. Paul uses this as his example. He says it several times. He says every time Moses is preached, every time the Law is preached a veil comes over their face: they cannot see. Now only when they come to receive Christ does that old covenant pass away.
In fact, Paul called the Law the ministry of death, the ministry of condemnation, and the letter that kills. And it’s only done away with in Christ. If you’re here today and you’re not a believer, it has not been done away with in your life. It stills hovers over you, condemning everything that you do. It is what keeps man under boundaries here. It is what hovers over us. But when a person comes and receives Christ, then that Law immediately is gone. You see, for the One who gave the Law, and the One who came as the God-Man to fulfill that Law, He now lives in us. The glory of God has come to live in us: the Law can no longer condemn us. But only if you’re a believer. That’s what causes this to fade away, is in Christ: that’s when it’s gone. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, Paul says in Romans 8:1.
So Christ is the fulfillment of all that we cannot do as the God-Man. And now He lives in us. He even paid our sin debt on the cross and when He comes to live in your life, the old has faded away. Let me read the text and then we’ll jump into it today, just to see what it means to walk and to live in the freedom of the Spirit.
Verse 12, “Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Now in my mind—and you could take a different verse—but in my mind the key verse is verse 17. And verse 17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit;” pay attention to that phrase “and where the Spirit of the lord is, there is liberty.” So today let’s talk about what it means to walk in this liberty of the Spirit. The old has faded away; Christ has come to live in us. The glory of God is in us, Who never fades away. The word “liberty” is the word eleutheria. There’s an island in the Bahamas that is Eleuthera; that’s what it means: freedom. But remember this, and I want to make sure I drive it home now: freedom is never the right to do as you please. Freedom is the power to do as you should. Don’t confuse the definition of this term.
Walking and living in the freedom of the Spirit means the passion to speak without fear
Alright: three things. First of all, walking and living in the freedom of the Spirit means the passion to speak without fear. Oh, my. When Christ lives in us and is allowed to live through us, His Spirit in us gives us an incredible not only ability to speak boldly the message of Christ, but the motivation to do it. He lives in us, Philippians says, to will and also to work without any fear, without any fear at all. Paul says, “Therefore,” and he’s building here, “having such a hope we use great boldness in our speech.” Well, what in the world is he talking about?
The word “hope” that he uses here is elpis. Elpis in the Greek means “expectancy, certainty”; never, never is it very iffy. Several months ago a bunch of us put in for the once in a lifetime oryx hunt at White Sands. Now, I have never won a golf ball at a golf tournament, much less get drawn for something like this. But they were doing it, so I put in. So I could have said, “My hope is, I’ll be able to go.” See that was very iffy and not much of a possibility. But just wanted to let you know I got drawn and so now my hope is certain. I’m going!
You see, hope in our terms is uncertain; but hope in biblical terms, when it comes to our salvation, when it comes to the things God has given us, He’s totally certain, so don’t ever misunderstand that. Paul’s certain hope that he stood on was the fact that Christ, the glory of God, lived in him. Paul said because of His life in him, he used great boldness in his speech. The word “used” again is in that middle voice, and it’s almost like saying, “Hey guys, you can do it, you can do it, you can.” Everybody walks out to the parking lot and says, “No I can’t, I promise you I can’t.” What he’s saying is something is enabling me to do this. I was enabled to be bold: that’s the Christ in him. That’s the glory of God in him.
The term “boldness” is a term that means “frankness,” straight out honesty, clarity, with no veil, open, unhindered. To speak it why? Because he’s got the doctrine to back it up. He’s got something to stand on: he’s got the message deep in his heart and he has Christ living in him. Christ in Paul was enabling him and motivating him to speak openly and boldly concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ and most of the time in was in the face of people who only understood the Law, and he had no fear whatsoever: he stood boldly.
I hear people telling me from time to time and I’ve been one of them, and they say, “I’m just scared to death to share my testimony with anybody. I just don’t know what to share.” Well, do you understand Who lives in you, and do you also understand to just let the doctrine be what you stand on? If you know what you believe and why you believe it, Christ in you will give you the boldness to share it with others. Speaking of Paul’s preaching, remember when he preached, the first place he would go would be the synagogue; and it says in Acts 28:31, “preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”
Paul said, “Something changed in me.” Kind of like Peter. Do you remember when Peter cowered down and denied Jesus three times and then the Spirit came to live in him and then he said, “Hey, do whatever you want to do to me, man. We can’t help but speak of the things we’ve seen and we’ve heard.” God in him gave him that boldness. Ephesians 6:19 says, “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” So Christ, the glory of God living in us, gives us the divine inspiration, motivation, and enablement to speak boldly, but to speak the message of Jesus Christ.
This is not just somebody who likes to talk. This is not somebody who is brazen enough to say something: this is divine. This is God working in someone, preaching Christ the Mediator of a better covenant which dismisses the Law and its condemnation and preaches the glory of God to live in us. Now Paul contrasts this bold confidence to speak with the apparent lack of it with Moses who had the old covenant that God had spoken to him, the glory that was fading away on his face.
He says in verse 13, “and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.” Now Paul clearly again shows why that veil was put on it: it was fading away, the glory was fading away. There was no confidence in Moses to preach what he preached because everything he said condemned every man to death. He did not want his people to lose confidence in him as a leader, so he just put a veil over his face. I don’t know if we’re ever going to grasp this. There is no glory on a person who preaches the performance mentality of the flesh. There is no glory, none whatsoever. There’s no life.
I wonder why we can’t understand this in our day? The message of freedom in Christ, the message of dying to self. The only thing I can figure is that people just don’t want to deal with themselves, they don’t want to deal with the flesh; and therefore they’d rather live performance based than they would walk in the freedom and the liberty of the Spirit, which enables them and motivates them to share the message boldly with other. What the Law says is death, Paul says, what the Law says is condemnation, what the Law says kills every self-effort. The Law hardens one’s mind to the gospel of Christ.
The word “harden” is coming up in verse 14, again, is in that passive voice. Here somebody is actually causing the action from the very outset. In other words, every time the Law was preached their minds were hardened. Some people translate this “blinded.” Verse 14, “But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.” Only in Christ. “But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart.” Now the word “minds” there, “their minds were hardened,” is the part of the mind that understands, noema. It’s their thoughts, their understandable thoughts that they can grasp to understand something. It’s hardened, the whole process is hardened.
The word “hardened” is the word poroo, and it means callous. Another thing young people haven’t gotten to is calluses. They will. But you know those calluses that grow on your feet or wherever they are and they’re like heavy, thick skin that grows over something and to touch it, it’s insensitive to the touch. That’s why it’s translated in many places “‘blinded.” A synonym of that word is skleros, and we get the word sclerosis from it, which is hardening over a period of time. You see, when the Law was preached, when this old performance mentality is preached over and over and over, there’s a hardening that happens and people cannot see the good news of Christ in us, the hope of glory and the lost people are blinded even to the gospel message of good news. They’re bound, totally bound, to earning their own righteousness and they haven’t understood the frustration. What the Law demands, Romans 7 teaches us, it cannot produce. So when the Law was preached it can’t awaken the heart: there’s no faith that can spring forth that will meet its standard when a person is only under the Law. Only in Christ is there life. His Spirit brings that light to us.
Verse 16, “but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Now we understand immediately the context being Israel and the old covenant and how when it’s preached. But I want to tell you, that jumps over beyond the cross; because if you’re in a works mentality, a performance based, you’ve got to do it. If you don’t witness to 25 people tomorrow, if you don’t pass out 75 tracts, boy it’s not going to get done, it’s not going to get done. Do you hear what I say? And you grow up under that and what happens is there is a veil: you don’t even understand. Christ in you, who demands it, lives in you to enable it. And that’s the tragedy of this whole thing.
Of our conferences that we did in Romania, and we had them there from Serbia, from Russia, all over Romania, my fourteenth trip there, we touched about 350 to 500 churches, every one of them grew up under nothing but the Law of mentality even though, yes, they received Jesus. But like in the book of Galatians, that wasn’t enough. They tried to perfect themselves with their own works and as a result of it they’ve been suffering for years.
And this lady was weeping, came up to me in broken English and she just was weeping and she said, “Pastor, today in the service,” and I had preached on Christ in you, “God touched me today. Something changed in my heart.” And when those pastors came to me weeping and they said, “We’ve been under this performance based mentality for so long and we’re so sick of it.” My translator said to me, “Every pastor in the eastern world needs to hear this message because every one of them are beat down every day by that old performance law mentality which veils the gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ living in and through us.
The performance is demanded even with believers. There’s no power to meet the demand in one’s flesh. The flesh is dead and it’s insensitive to be able to do what it wants to do. Read Romans 7:14-25 again if you don’t understand this. That’s what Paul says. Only in Christ is the veil lifted. I remember when it was lifted for me, years ago. I was a believer but again, I was trying to perfect myself with the works and the energy of my flesh. And I cried for days when God began to lift that veil and I saw the real good news of what Christianity is all about.
See, His life in us enables us, but especially in this point, to speak boldly. Witnessing is not a cause, it’s a consequence of a person living, letting the glory be reflected in his life. There’s no effort as long as he doctrinally can stand on what he’s telling other people. That’s what is so important.
Walking and living in the freedom of the Spirit means the power to be what we’re commanded to be
But then secondly, it means the power to be what we’re commanded to be. Verse 17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit;” and that’s the key verse, or the one I’m keying off of, “and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The Spirit lives in us so there’s liberty. So what does this mean? The freedom that we have in Christ again, is never the right to do as you please. It’s never that right. It’s the power to do as we should. In Christ under the new covenant, in the glory of God, we’re free from the condemnation of the Law. God’s grace saves us, God’s grace keeps us, no sin can forfeit our salvation in Christ. We need to basically make sure we understand that. But we do not have a license to do as we please.
You know, it’s interesting. Paul has already explained to these Corinthians this whole truth. They know exactly what he’s talking about. We have to study it and dig it out. They knew what he was talking about. In his second letter to them, which we know as 1 Corinthians, he said in 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me but I will not be mastered by anything.” Now, that’s key. He repeats it in chapter 10 when he’s dealing with the weaker brother. He says in 10:23, “All things are lawful” —sure, any sin that you commit is not going to take you out of the kingdom of God once Christ has come to live in you—“but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful,” but then he changes and he says, “but not all things edify.” The word “edify” means “builds up.” Not everything builds up. Some things tear down.
The Corinthians had perverted this whole concept of grace to justify their sinning and particularly in chapter 6, in immoral areas. They lived in a bad world. They used the same argument the Romans used and Paul had to recite it back to them in Romans 6:1 when he said, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” That’s like driving up in a parking place and a sign says “don’t even think about it.” Don’t even ask that question. They pretended in Corinth to have a theological justification for doing what they were doing. Like many Christians today, in Corinth they rationalized their sinful habits and their thinking. I said they lived in a society that was notoriously immoral. They even had prostitution in their temple and it was looked at as a spiritual cleansing of all things. It was almost as bad as it is today.
Just as it was hard to give up man’s way of doing things in the first four chapters and give up their worldly way of thinking and to give up their pride and to give up their divisive spirit, it evidently was pretty tough for them to give up their immoral ways of living, so they justified it by saying, “All things are lawful. I can just do whatever I want to do.” Paul counters that thinking saying, “Yes, all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.”
There’s a little saying I remember from years ago and I’ve shared it a couple of times here. Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray; it will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay; and it will cost you more than you ever dreamed you’d pay. Oh, you won’t lose your salvation once you’re a believer. But will you pay? You will pay big time. Not only will you pay, the people around you will pay.
So the Corinthian church already knew what Paul was talking about when he said, “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is”—where is he? He lives in us—“there is liberty.” The divine enablement to do what we’re commanded to do. Do you see with the Law there is no ability, only in the Spirit? Not the right to do as we please, but the power to do as we should. In the new covenant, the covenant of grace, Christ, the glory of God, lives in us and wants to radiate His glory in recognition through us. We’re free from any condemnation of the law; we’re free to speak boldly the truth of the gospel in the face of whoever is there.
I used to go to Romania, and the Communists would come to the service and they always made themselves recognizable. They wanted to put fear in your heart. They wanted you to know that they’re sitting there. I remember one church we were in, this guy was so noticeable. He had sunglasses on at a night service in a church that had dim lighting to begin with. And he was just sitting there staring at me. I’ve seen church members act that way before, but I knew who he was. And I want to tell you, I had a boldness that I don’t know if I’ve ever had in America. I’m sure maybe I have, but I noticed it there. Man, I preached, and I preached right to him. I never looked at another person in that whole place. I singled him out and I preached right to him that whole entire message about the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ; that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God the Father through His Son. The glory of God has come to live in us and makes us free, free to speak boldly wherever we are: free to be what we’re commanded to be.
Walking and living in the freedom of the Spirit means the potential to be changed into His image
Well, the third thing is finally, it means the potential to be changed into His image. We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Now this is the grand finale to everything he began simply by saying “You are my letter of recommendation. My adequacy is in Christ.” Everything he’s been saying goes all the way back to what happened in the first of chapter 3 and really back to chapter 2. He said, “I am a man chained to the chariot of God and the sweet fragrance of my life is Christ living in me.”
Moses was only one man, bless his heart, only one man out of two and a half million people that got to go up on top of the mountain and be in the presence of God. And only one man could come off that mountain with the glory on his face, even though it was fading. But look what Paul says in verse 18, “But we all,” behold. You know, only one person could go behind the veil. I mean, Moses was a special person; nobody else got this privilege. Every one of us has already had this privilege and gets this privilege every day of our life. We all behold, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord. The pictures of one looking in to something and seeing a reflection of Who God is come back to us. Like looking into a mirror that’s used in secular Greek of looking into a pool of clear water and seeing a reflection come back to you. It’s a beautiful picture. When we looked into the gospel of Jesus Christ with no veil, just open and the Spirit of God has opened our hearts, we see in the gospel the glory of Christ and at that very moment we were changed by that glory and we became a brand new person in Jesus Christ.
But what he’s talking about here, that was an event. That was our birth. He’s talking about here a process that goes on from that birth; continuing to be changed from glory to glory. We must daily continue to behold Him, the beholding is key, so that we might be transformed. I don’t know if I can get this out like it got in, but this is so good. Verse 18, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as the Lord, the Spirit. And again, looking into something and seeing God reflected back. It’s in the present middle tense. How many times have I brought this up in this message? Piano, come here. You can’t come here, so something has to enable it to come here. Something is enabling the beholding, something is enabling the transformation. What is this? The transformation again is the result of the beholding.
The word “transformation” is metamorphoo. Now you know this word. What word do we get from that? Metamorphosis. That little old caterpillar; ugly little old thing. And one day out of the secretion of its own body there’s a cocoon. What’s going on with this little critter? And all of a sudden one day, out emerges a butterfly that is free to fly, no longer made to stay in one place. From now on, he can fly. The freedom that has come; that’s the word that’s used here. There’s a metamorphosis that is still building on the liberty that we have in the Spirit of God.
Now what is it that enables both the beholding and the transformation day by day? One is implied, one’s very explicit. It’s the Word of God and it’s the Spirit of God. And I can back both of those up. Note the last part of the verse, “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
First of all, we know this: it involves the Word of God because Paul uses that word metamorpho in Romans 12:1-2, and it’s exactly speaking of the Word of God. Let me read it to you. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” By the way, that’s what worship is; it’s not a song and it’s not a feeling. Verse 2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”—that means to renovate; rip out the old way of thinking and put in the new way of thinking—“that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, and the perfect will of God.”
Only the Word of God renews the mind, folks. There’s nothing else. That’s what Paul said. He didn’t defend himself; he defended the doctrine he stood on. He knew the Word would hold him up. If the believer will just get in to God’s Word. If you come here, you know you’re going to hear it. If you go to your classes, you know you’re going to hear it, but that’s not enough. The bottom line is not to preach and teach the Word. The bottom line is to teach people how to learn for themselves, to get into the Word for themselves.
If the believer will get into God’s Word, then daily, God will reveal Himself to you. You will behold Him. “What do you mean? I’m going to see an image in my room?” No, but He’s going to show you what He requires. He’s going to show you Who He is. He’s going to reveal to you what He wants to do in your life. And I’ll tell you, when you’re willing to submit to that there’s going to be a transformation take place in your life. That’s what Romans teaches us.
The second thing then we know for sure, not only does it involve the Word daily in our life; it involves the Holy Spirit, as he says right here, “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” Now he does that two times in verse 17 and in verse 18: he takes the word Lord—capitalized in the New Testament means Jesus Christ—and equates it with the Spirit.
It’s incredible to me. In one of my conferences we had a guy from a different persuasion and he said, “I love this conference, but you just didn’t talk about the Holy Spirit enough.” Well, bless his sweet heart, the Holy Spirit, He wasn’t upset. Jesus said “when the Spirit comes He will bear witness of Me,” speaking of Himself, Jesus. He will not speak of Himself. By the way, I just want you to know that there’s no jealousy in the Trinity. For those of you that are trying to defend the Holy Spirit, will you relax? Father gives it to the Son, Son gives it to the Spirit, Spirit gives it back to Jesus and He gives it back to the Father. There is a whole lot of jealousy going on here, right? It’s the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. There’s one God in three persons, not three Gods, and the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He is God. He is God in our life.
He says we’re being transformed by Him. Now the Spirit is one, you and I, when we look into the Word, the Spirit reveals Christ to our hearts. And as we’re willing to continue to respond, the Spirit of God is the One who transforms us and what people see on the outside is the glory of the One who is living on the inside, whose glory never fades away.
So Moses reflected the glory of God, only one man got to be in His presence. But it faded away. But daily we get the privilege and the potential of reflecting the glory of God to other people. I guess you could say if you talk about His life and His character and the fruit of His Spirit, there is a way we could spiritually veil that glory. Not that it’s fading away, but that we’re the ones unwilling to release it in our life.
Some people have asked me, “Are you talking about the second blessing?” No, I’m talking about normal Christianity. I’m talking about waking up to what we already have. We’re not getting anything new. It’s learning to live in what we already have. You know what being filled with the Spirit is? I’ve got this bottle of water. Now, if I take the cap off of this and I’m going to drink it, most people think being filled with the Spirit is getting this thing, taking the cap off and drinking. Then, “I’m empty; I’ve got to hurry back to church. Preacher, you filled my cup last week but I didn’t make it to Tuesday, I’ve got to come back Wednesday and get my cup filled again. It’s awful.” That’s not being filled with the Spirit. His glory never fades away. Being filled with the Spirit is taking the top off this bottle and knocking the bottom out of it and putting it in the river and letting the river flow through it.
Do you see the difference? You see, if you’re just willing to be yielded, His glory never fades away. It’s being reflected in your life all the time. In the way you talk to each other and the way you treat each other. Jesus would not crush a bruised reed or quench a smoking flax. As a matter of fact he was called a lamb. Did you know a lamb is the only animal gentle enough for a dove to rest upon? But you know the Holy Spirit, when it came to rest on Jesus and it said it came as a dove. That dove rested on His head, the Lamb who was gentle enough that a dove could rest upon Him. That’s when you know the glory of God is working in a person’s life.
It’s not in some zealous, religious performer trying to do something for God and grab the glory while he can. It’s a humble person who bows down and says, “God, I can’t, You never said I could, but You can, You always said You would.” That’s Your glory in me being seen.
Let me ask you a question. Are you being changed from glory to glory? Are you allowing the glory within you to radiate through you? How do you know that? Can I share with you what Jesus has done in my heart. And you walk away after you’ve shared it and say, “Who was that? That’s not shy little old me.” Where did that boldness come from? Then you begin to see what God begins to work in your life. The power to become what He wants you to be. The potential to be changed from glory to glory.
You know what happens after awhile? They see so much less of us they can finally see Him who lives within us. That’s Christian life. That’s what we’ve been preaching for years. That has to be caught, it cannot be taught. The Spirit has to reach into your heart and show you the glory of God as the Word comes forth, that’s the Spirit and as you respond, the changes in us.