10. Do Not Cover Your Glory
These bodies carry inside of them a treasure of glory beyond what we can imagine. God wants that glory to shine its way through this earthen vessel.
10. Do Not Cover Your Glory
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1
To understand the gospel, we must be grounded in a full understanding of the divine law upon which we stand. Without knowing the Spirit law of God we live in as believers there is no way we can go forward into victory.
So many believers have the idea that, as Christians, we are fighting our way up to gain salvation. That is backwards. As sons of God, we are not becoming what God wants us to be, we are what God wants us to be. We are pleasing to God; we stand in the glory of our finished state. We stand there by faith.
We rejoice in the victory before it happens. We dance on this side of the sea before the waters open. We have our hopes up so high that nothing could penetrate to bring them down. We are fighting the victory not to get somewhere, but because we are who we are. We are fighting as sons for the glory of our Father. We are not fighting as humans in order to please God.
Because Christ died and because we believe in Him, there is therefore now no condemnation.
That word "condemnation" is not a bad feeling. Certainly, we don't have to feel bad. Rather, "condemnation" is the Greek word katakrisis. Krisis is judgment and kata is down. There is therefore now no "down judgment." As I stand before God right now, the accuser can accuse all he wants, but there is not one shred of evidence that I did anything. At the same time, Jesus says, "I did not do it, so Daniel did not do it." And the Father says, "Case closed. No sin has been committed."
I didn't do it. Justification is more than "just as if I didn't do it." Before God, justification is, "I did not do it." There used to be someone who goes by my name that did it, but he is dead! I am a new creation in Christ. I am the one who was born the second time. I am in Jesus and nowhere else.
This "down judgment" is everything that comes as a result of sin. I am fully free from every part of the curse including death. I do not have to die physically.
Who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
It is possible, now that I am in Christ, that I could define myself as something I am not. I could define myself as a fallen human, struggling under the weight of sin. I could define myself as someone who is bad, or even someone who finds his life in this world. If I did, I would be walking according to the flesh. But there is no reason to see myself that way.
Transformation comes through changing the way we think. I am a new creation. I do not recognize any self separate from Christ. Christ is in me. In me! That is the only me that I recognize. I don't see any other me than Christ in me, and no seductive lie can make me do so. In fact, God requires the opposite. He says, "Deny that. Deny that there is a self separate from Christ."
I am in Christ; Christ is in me. Therefore, I walk and live in the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
To understand this foundational verse of God's Spirit law, God has given us a story in the Old Testament. God gave us the stories of the Old Testament to enable us to understand the New Covenant that we have with God.
After these things, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman . . . and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king's servants who were within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage . . .
When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Judeans who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus - the people of Mordecai . . .
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people . . . their laws are different from all other people's, and they do not keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed . . ." So the king took his signet ring and gave it to Haman.
And the king said to Haman, "The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you." Esther 3:1-11
In the kingdom of Persia, there was a rule that if the king spoke a law, then even the king himself could not change that law once it had been spoken.
This rule did two things for the people. One, it made the king a little slow to speak strong words, because He knew that once it was out of his mouth, he could not take it back. At the same time, once people understood what the king had said, they could rely on it, knowing that it was certain. If they built their lives on that particular kingly word, they would not suddenly find that word jerked out from under them. They could live with certainty.
That is the same with God. When God speaks His word, it is certain and sure and cannot be changed.
The moment that the king had declared that the Judeans were to be killed on a certain date, that law was set and could not be changed.
But then, Mordecai talked to his niece, Esther, who was married to the king. She went before the king and pleaded for her people. The end result was that Haman was hanged on the gallows he had made and Mordecai was exalted to the same position that Haman had enjoyed. Then, in Chapter 8, we come again to the law, the word, that the king had spoken concerning the Judeans.
Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Judeans. . . Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, "If it pleases the king . . . let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman . . . which he wrote to annihilate the Judeans who are in all the king's provinces." . . .
(King Ahasuerus said), "You yourselves, write a decree concerning the Judeans, as you please, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's signet ring; for whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's signet ring no one can revoke." Esther 8:3-8
They could not write a decree that would overturn the original decree because that decree had been set and could not be changed. They had to write a decree that would stand alongside the original decree. Verse 11 is that decree.
By these letters the king permitted the Judeans who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives - to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them . . . and plunder their possessions.
And so it happened. On the set day, when the king had ordered the destruction of the Judeans, many people came to take advantage of the first law the king had spoken, to kill the Judeans and take their property. But the king had established a second law - that the Judeans had the authority of the king to fight for their lives. On that day, the Judeans destroyed their enemies.
With that, let's come back to Romans 8:2. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
What is the law of sin and death? The law of sin and death is the irrevocable law of God. God cannot change it. The law of sin and death is this:
The soul that sinneth shall die - In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die - The wages of sin is death.
You sin, you die. It is an absolute law of God. Once sin begins to work in a person's life, death works as well. Sin leads to death and death to sin, and it is a downward spiral that leads all the way to the grave. More than that, it is a law passed on to our children who labor under the same curse in spite of the fact that they did not commit Adam's original sin. Sin is in their spirits before they are born again, and against their bodies bringing death even after they are born again.
You sin, you die - an absolute law! God cannot revoke it. He spoke it once, and there it stands. If that were the only law God spoke, we would be without hope.
But we know that we did die. When Jesus died upon the cross, we were inside of Him, and we died. Then, when He rose from the grave, we came alive with Him in His resurrection life.
But God has spoken a new law into the universe. This new law does not set aside the old law, which is still in operation. Our bodies still die and go into the grave because of the operation of that old law. But God has set a new law alongside the old. That is, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
The story in Esther shows us exactly what God's intentions are. You see, there continues that voice of accusation that demands the old law be fulfilled, that demands death and destruction. But God has given us a new law that He has spoken; God has given us the right to fight back and to win, to live and not die!
We fight back on the basis of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. God is a legal God. Everything exists on the basis of unchangeable Spirit law. When we fight back against the law of sin and death, we fight from a law that is far greater, far more central to the heart of God. The law of the Spirit of life has made us free from the law sin and death.
This is absolute. On this absolute law, I stand; upon this certainty, I swing my sword; upon this unshakable foundation I fight with full assurance of faith. I KNOW that the legal ground of God upon which my feet stand cannot shake or move. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. And on the basis of this law, we approach the battle taking place against our bodies.
This story helps us to understand, then, the confusion so many of God's people fall into. The law of sin and death is a law spoken by God. The wages of sin is death. And so, there are many verses, particularly, in the Old Covenant, that expand on that law of sin and death. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. - See, I have set before you this day life and death, therefore chose life, for why would you die? Verses like these are part of God's speaking of the law of sin and death, the first law.
Yes, the law given by king Ahasuerus against the Judeans continued. But on the day the Judeans fought for their lives, everyone knew that something enormous had shifted. The first man behind the working of the first law, Haman, was defeated and dead. Now, a new prime minister was in power, Mordecai, and a new law spoken by the king giving the Judeans authority to fight back was backed up by the second in command in the entire empire. Everybody knew that. The authority behind those who sought to kill the Judeans was a defeated authority. The authority behind the Judeans fighting for their lives was the authority standing at the right hand of the throne.
And so it is with us. Yes, the law of sin and death was spoken by God, but it is not the law in which we live. We live in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, having behind us the authority of Him who stands at the right hand of the Father, having defeated His enemies. His authority is behind us as we stand in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We have the right and the power to fight back.
The assurance verses in the New Testament teach us about the law of the Spirit of life, and the jeopardy verses teach us how to fight back. Both sets of verses are on the same side. Assurance teaches us where we stand, and jeopardy teaches us how we fight back against our enemy who would kill us.
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily on the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 2 Corinthians 3:7-8
What did Paul just say? Wasn't it the Ten Commandments that were engraved on stone? Wasn't it the receiving of the Ten Commandments that put the glory on the face of Moses? Paul is calling the Ten Commandments the ministry of death.
The story of Esther helps us understand. The Ten Commandments are part of the law of sin and death. Our enemy uses them to condemn us. Yes, the ministry of death which Moses received put a glory upon his face, but Paul says that the ministry of life which we have received, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is far more glorious upon our face.
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:9
Paul contrasts the law of the Spirit of life against the law of sin and death. He places the law of Moses as central to the law of sin and death.
For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech, 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. 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. 2 Corinthians 3:10-14
One who reads the Old Testament in an unlawful way, not to understand the gospel, but to rule over the gospel, their mind is blocked entirely by a veil.
Nevertheless, when one 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 by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
When Moses received the law of sin and death from God, his face became so bright with God's glory that no one could stand to look at it. It was so overwhelming that the children of Israel could not bear to have Moses walking around looking like God, with the glory of God glowing from his skin. They asked him to put a hood over his head, so they would not see God shining out of his body.
Paul said, "We are not like Moses!" We do not cover up God's glory upon us.
If the glory upon Moses from the law of sin and death was glorious, how much more glory is upon the faces of those filled with Christ Jesus? This glory shines even through the physical body. As we behold the glory of the Lord by faith when we look in the mirror, my God, the glory that is upon us is far greater than the glory that was upon Moses.
We are being transformed into the image of His glory by the Spirit of the Lord. There is a glory that is upon our bodies, upon the skin of our face. God wants to be seen in our body. He does not want us to cover our glory.
Whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them . . . 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. 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
The god of this age is the one who stands behind the law of sin and death. - The glory that was upon Moses was nothing compared to the glory of Jesus that is upon us.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
These bodies carry inside of them a treasure of glory beyond what we can imagine. God wants that glory to shine its way through this earthen vessel.
Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10
He died; I died. I reckon it to be so; I speak it to be so.
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. 2 Corinthians 4:11
God intends Christ to triumph, not in heaven, but in our physical body. Yes, the body is dying, but just as death is working against our body, more surely than that, the life of Jesus counteracts it. The law of the Spirit of life fills my spirit. God has given me authority to fight against my enemy who would use the word God spoke to destroy me. It is God who said that the wages of sin is death, and it is God who gives me the authority to fight against the effect of the word He Himself spoke. I KNOW that the death of Jesus overrides the death of sin.
God's purpose is not to blame or destroy the body. God's purpose is that the life of Jesus would be revealed, shown to all, in my mortal flesh, in my dying body. God wants the glory to shine.
We are not like Moses, we do not cover our glory.
Romans 12: 1-2 is Paul's conclusion in the book of Romans concerning how the physical body fits into the gospel of Christ. Yes, the physical body is the source of our continued confusion in this world. It is where death still works against us. But it is also the temple of the Holy Spirit. And as the temple of the Holy Spirit, we do not abuse the body in any way. It is where God has purposed to win.
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
My body is holy; every part of it is pleasing to God. The life that I live in my body is holy, and I present my body in faith that it is acceptable to God. It is made clean by the blood of Jesus. It is the temple of God.
We are transformed by changing the way we think, by getting our minds out of the law of sin and death, out of the concourses of this world, and into the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus where we live. We change the way we think about the life of Christ inside of us. We believe that what God says about us is in the gospel is true.
God spoke two words into the world; we do not them mix them up. Yes, God spoke the law of sin and death, but we stand fully in the law of the Spirit of life. As we are transformed by changing the way we think, we present our bodies, because God intends to prove His will in our bodies.
What is the will of God? That His will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
God commanded Adam to subdue the earth, to bring the physical body into the full glory of the Spirit of God. This is our task and our glory. The body has no shame in it. We carry this treasure of God in an earthen vessel. And we carry the face of Jesus Christ to prove the will of God in our bodies.
God will win. Not by taking us to heaven, but by proving His will, right here, right now, in this earth, in this life, in our physical bodies.
This is the battle. This is where we win. This is our glory.