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  • This is not about me.

    Paul is continuing his explanation of his ministry, and of his apostleship.

    Now I'm not saying this because I need your approval or testimony. I'm not looking for your commendation or a letter of recommendation from you.

    You are my commendation, for your actions and witness speak far better than any letter ever could. The Holy Spirit confesses you as my children before our Lord. You are a living testimony to the mission God has given me.

    Not because Paul is great, because Paul can do nothing on his own. I trust in our God to fulfill the mission he has given me to perform.

    God has given me this new testament, not in ink and paper, but in my heart. He has shown me the letter of the law kills, yet the spirit of this new testament gives everlasting life.

    For God once gave laws on tablets of stone, and blessed Moses so greatly that the children of Israel could not look directly on his face. Now if God's administration of Death was that so glorious, how much more glorious is His administration of Life?

    With this new hope, we do not need eloquent speeches. Unlike Moses, we do not need to wear a veil so you can look at us. The power of God was glorious when He gave us the law, which brought death to man. So how much greater is the power of the living God who brings life to us through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, our Christ and Messiah.

    Our ancestors beheld the glory of God through a veil and it could not reach their hearts. They had allowed their greed and fear to overcome them. That veil was torn from top to bottom when Christ finished his sacrifice. So now when you accept the Holy Spirit into your heart, there is no separation between you and God.

    God is the Holy Spirit, and the Lord. They are one, and in them is freedom from death and sin. When we accept the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow Him to govern our lives, we are transformed into the image of Christ. And in His image, we are free.

    Transformed into Christ

    In the temple in the Old Testament, there were three stages you had to go through to reach the presence of God. And only the high priest could actually go before Him. The masses were restricted to the outer court where they would bring their sacrifices to the priests. The priests would bring the sacrifices before God in the Holy Place. Here they kept incense burning night and day, and placed the shewbread on the table before the Holy of Holies, which was surrounded by a veil, a long curtain that surrounded the place where the Spirit of God resided. Within that sacred place was the Ark of the Covenant. Once a year, the High Priest, after a considerable amount of preparation, would enter this place to pour the blood of the sacrifices upon the Mercy Seat, which was a part of the Ark. It was a very specific ritual, and one that often claimed the life of the High Priest if he had not prepared properly.

    The veil was symbolic of God's holiness and separation, for before Christ we were all sinners, and could not be in the presence of God. God cannot tolerate sin. And the sacrifices of animals were not sufficient to absolve man of sin. They were only used to demonstrate the obedience of the people to God's laws.

    The example of God's glory was established in the wilderness when Moses descended from the mountain with the tablets. Moses had seen God, and that vision was so powerful it transformed his face into a beacon, a bright shining light the people could not look upon. This veil Moses wore so the people could look at him became the forerunner of the veil surrounding God's presence in the temple.

    This is the veil Paul is talking about. But more importantly, he is assuring the Corinthians that the veil has been irrevocably removed for mankind when they accept the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not merely a conduit to God. The Spirit is God.

    In the Gospel of Thomas, one of the books often disputed by various clergy because it renounces the concept of organized religions, Jesus is quoted as saying “The Kingdom of God is in you, and all around you”.

    Reading this epistle, I would have to conclude that Paul agrees.

    I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.

    Fred
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