The Comparison of Glories.

God created the moon to be the lesser light of the night sky and the sun to rule the day (Genesis 1:16). When the sun comes up, the light of the moon no longer seems bright. Paul makes a similar comparison between the Old and New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, using a typical rabbinical comparison of the lesser to the greater.

The glory of the Old Covenant comes from its source, our Creator God. It was and remains God's Law. The moral beauty and order of God is pure, unsullied, and perfect. Exodus 34:29-35 records that Moses' face physically shone after experiencing the presence of pure, unadulterated holiness.

Remember that Law did not start with Moses; God has always been pure morality and pure order as part of His being, character, and nature. This was reflected everywhere in His Creation before the introduction of sin. Romans 8:19-22 tells us that all Creation still groans as it feels the effects of human sin. Yet even after the Fall, God's image in man retained some knowledge of God's moral code.

At Sinai, the Law became another act of God's mercy towards man. Giving the Law became a glorious expression and reminder of the perfect character of God that Adam and Eve once enjoyed in the Garden as they walked and fellowshipped with Him. The reminder that we cannot keep the Law points people to the perfect Lawkeeper and Savior, Jesus. As one author said, "Love is law-shaped in Christ, and law is love-shaped in Christ."

The Nature of the Glory of the Law

The Law gave the possibility of a temporary atonement for sin and showed God's moral expectations (Hebrews 8:3-6). The Law gave humans access to God (Hebrews 9:1-10). We cannot view the Law as merely negative, because it is the expression of the moral character of God (Hebrews 10:26-28). It reveals us as guilty, and this is glorious because we must be convinced we are lost before we can be found and saved.

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant

God's moral expectations and standards remain. However, Moses' face shone a fading glory, foreshadowing how the glory of the Law would be overshadowed. Jesus repeated the Law's command "to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). His ministry gives the church a more adequate representation of God's moral character than the Law (Colossians 2:8).

"The law of Moses belonged to a vanishing order," one author said, "an economy that began to fade immediately after its inception, as was typified by the divine glory reflected on Moses' face that began to fade as soon as he left the divine presence of God. However, a covenant destined to be permanent must be vested with greater glory, and Jesus Christ is that glory."

"Some people cannot feel spiritual unless they carry the weight of guilt. The law produces guilt and condemnation. It is like a bond of indebtedness, a guardian who disciplines us, a yoke too heavy to bear."

The Judaizers wanted the Corinthians to mix in the Law with the Gospel, but Paul reminded them that they had a greater glory. God saw them as righteous as His glorious Son, Jesus Christ, and they must not go back to the lesser glory that was incapable of changing them.

Application Points

  • Have you known Christ? Have you found yourself broken in the face of God's moral perfections? Do you know the spotless Lamb of God who kept all of God's Law perfectly? Has his righteousness been credited to your account? You can be reckoned as the perfection of God in Christ. If you would come to Him, you will be forever gloriously declared innocent. Find out how here.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1-6 – The glory of Creation points to God's moral perfection.