13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:13-18 NIV)
When Moses came down from meeting with God on Mount Sinai his face glowed. He covered it with a veil except when he was speaking to God or to the people. (see Exodus 34:27-35 for the full story) We generally associate veils with brides or the women of Islam. In both cases the veil prevents others from seeing the face behind the veil. Like the veil prevents us from seeing a woman’s face, the Law can prevent us from seeing God.
We live in a visual culture. The latest social media app getting attention is Tik Tok and it seems to be designed to encourage people to do crazy things in wildly colorful clothing to be seen by millions of people. Rather than 15 minutes of fame, people are seeking to find 10 seconds of fame. This app and so many other things like it obscure our vision of God.
With all the fires in our area the sky is filled with smoke and ash. They darken the sky to the point that we can stare at the sun without damaging our eyes.
I am looking forward to some rain to clear the air and restore the brilliance of the sun. Paul’s desire for us is that we would remove anything that obscures our hearts from experiencing the full glory of God. He wants us to desire a clear vision of the Spirit as much as we desire for rain to clear the air.
Sin casts a dark shadow over our hearts and conceals the Spirit. The more we focus on our sin the harder it is to see the goodness of God expressed in the presence of His Spirit. The more we focus on our sin the greater our desire to try to hide it. This blinds us to the goodness of God. Fortunately, the cure for this blindness is simple, although not easy. All that is necessary is to carry our sin into the light, agreeing with God that it is sin, and He promises to forgive us. His forgiveness destroys the shadow through exposure to the light of His love.
There is a great promise in this passage. It is the promise that the more we look at God the more like Him we will become. How do I see God who is invisible? Paul says that we can see His glory reflected in us as if in a mirror. The more we look for God’s reflection through His Spirit in us the more our image fades and the more the image of God shines through. Satan wants us to focus on the dirty container that is us while God’s desire is that we focus on the infinitely beautiful presence that it is working its way out from within.