Friday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:10—4:18 (NKJV)
3:10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one 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 liberty. 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We always need to be reminded as Christians that the world is darkened. Those of the world have darkened minds. They embrace sin and death readily because it is a reflection of their minds and hearts. When the spirit is dead, the mind can only love death. In the context in which St. Paul writes, the Jews were the problem. They would not trust in Jesus, and their minds were darkened because of it. They knew the Scriptures and even memorized them, but they did not know how to interpret them. They could not see Jesus Christ as the center of all the Scriptures, and so the Torah became useless and mysterious to them. In time they would continue to pervert the holy writings so that they would substitute themselves for Christ in the prophecies they read.
The Jews are still in this condition, but so are many more people. How often do we hear people in our society claim the Bible says something that it doesn’t; in fact, claiming the opposite of what it says. They are not ignorant. They are darkened in their minds, and twist and pervert the Bible for their wicked purposes. They lie about God and pile up condemnation for themselves.
But we can be thankful that God has chosen us to have eyes to see and ears to hear. Our God has graciously called us out of the darkness that the world is in. His election of us in Christ is a mystery too deep and profound for us to understand. We simply take it in, in thankful awe.