Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians
The New Covenant - Unveiled
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
10 January 2016
Throughout the Old Testament, the new covenant is looked to, and prophesied, as something new and superior. What is the new covenant, and why does the old look forward to it? In Second Corinthians 3:12 - 18, Paul gives five reasons the New Covenant is better.
Throughout Scripture, the marriage relationship is often used as a picture of Christ and His Church because of the spiritual intimacy shared. But, as at a wedding, the veil must first be lifted before the two can be together. The Old Covenant promised union with God by perfect obedience. However, humankind is born with spiritual blindness, unable to understand, obey, or even respond to God. Only when Christ removes this veil can mankind see and and receive forgiveness. This removing of spiritual blindness and the union that follows is the New Covenant.
The new covenant is superior because it gives hope (v. 12)
The old covenant proved all to be breakers of God's Law and worthy of wrath. It showed man's inability to find peace with God, but the new realised peace and hope in God.
The new covenant is superior because it comes with clarity (v. 13 - 14a)
"As Moses, who put a veil on his face that the children of Israel wouldn’t look steadfastly" (v. 13), the old covenant was also a veil that hid the glory of the coming new covenant. Now that the new covenant has arrived, we see it as it is, not through types and shadows.
The new covenant is Christ-centered (v. 14 - 16, 18a)
Christ removes the veil "whenever someone turns to the Lord" (v. 16), and enters into relationship with them. Now "we all, with unveiled face [can see] the glory of the Lord" (v. 18a).
The new covenant is empowered by the Spirit (v. 17)
Men in the old covenant did not have the indwelling Spirit working in their hearts to perform regeneration. However, in the new, the Spirit brings life and light to dead and dark souls, turning them to the living God. For this reason, Paul writes, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (v. 17).
The new covenant is transforming (v. 18b)
As opposed to the old where men strove in their own power, God now enters into men and they are "transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (v. 18b). This is the evidence salvation is genuine: our character becoming more like God's.
The new covenant comes in the blazing light of Christ's glory, and overshadows the gloom of the old. It gives hope, comes with clarity, looks to Christ, is empowered by the Spirit, and eternally transforms men. The question every man must ask himself is this: “Have I been changed by it?”