The glory of God

The glory of the Lord is a theme that goes throughout the Scriptures.  From Moses at the burning bush, through God’s revelation of himself to Moses in Exodus 34, on to the pillar of fire and smoke leading the people into the Promised Land, then to filling Solomon’s temple, the glory departing at the time of the Captivity, and then New Testament fulfillment at the birth of Jesus, with John saying “We have seen his glory,” this is a big theme.

According to 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2, the most important part of the glory of the Lord is not to find its ultimate purpose for us in the Law, which caused Moses to veil his face, but in the gospel, which gives freedom, all to the glory of God.

Francis Pieper wrote a gorgeous exploration of this doctrine in his essay called “The Glory of the LORD.” It is available online in the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary essay file. Here is one quote from the work:

“We know only a revealed God. Insofar as He is a hidden God He does not concern us. And the revealed God is always and with all people and under all circumstances the same. …The eternal, unchangeable God is the God of grace. And that not just since Abraham, but from everlasting to everlasting. ...God is primarily and essentially not a God of wrath but exclusively a God of infinite grace, even as He proclaims Himself as such in Exodus 34:6.”

It is tempting for us to trace the glory of the Lord throughout the Old Testament and interpret it in a Law sense. However, really examine those instances God’s glory in the light of the Gospel.

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 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. Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2)


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