The all-holy glory of our Triune God is weighty and substantial, never ”fluffy.” To illustrate this, one can look to Moses’ veiled, radiant face after having seen God’s glory. Paul takes up this image of veils and radiant glory in chapter three. He also contrasts the ”dispensation of death” with the ”dispensation of the Spirit” (v. 7-8). What is passing away contains an ephemeral glory, but what abides is situated in a glory that is eternal (cf. v. 11). In this, Paul does not wish to abolish the old covenant, but fulfill it with the Gospel of Christ.
He writes, ”Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor” (v. 12) and ”Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (v. 17). Powerfully, ”And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (v. 18). He then explains that this ministry strives to be wholly centered on the glory of God, unveiled and holy.
As any faithful minister, Paul carries within his body the death of Jesus so that he might bring life to his flock.”For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (v. 15). This invisible glory manifests itself in faith, hope and charity. Paul is impatient to move towards a more substantive epoch: eternity.
Music: Johann Gottfried Conradi’s Prelude in D Minor, from the album Allemande, performed by Edward Martin. www.magnatune.com