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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (May 8th)

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Fading Glory versus Remaining Glory

For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. (2 Corinthians 3:11)

The old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace both have a glory about them. However, the glory of one (the old covenant) is a fading glory. Whereas, the other (the new covenant) has a remaining glory. One is related to man's sufficiency. The other is related to God's sufficiency.

The fading aspect of old covenant glory can be seen in Moses' experience: "But if the ministry of death [the law], written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away" (2 Corinthians 3:7). The glory that shone from Moses' face (as the Lord revealed the law to him) began to fade away. It was never meant to be the permanent glory that God desired to shine upon lives. "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:13).

The old covenant of law was not designed to remove man's problems. It was given to convict us of our basic problem of sin. Neither was it designed to bring the glorious blessings (forgiveness and life abundant) that God had for man. Jesus Christ alone could accomplish that. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3) The weakness of the law was that it addressed man's flesh (natural human resources). Those resources are not able to live up to God's perfect standard of righteousness. So, Jesus had to come and deal with man's sin problem at the cross.

When we attempt to live by the old covenant of law, we are choosing to live by man's sufficiency. This can produce in us a fading glory. It is like the hype of a "religious pep rally" that soon fades away when the crowd is gone, and we are left to face the battle on our own. This glory fades, because living by law depends upon man's sufficiency.

The new covenant of grace deals with man's problems. God forgives our sins by His grace. Then, He works in our hearts by His grace to transform the sinner. This produces a remaining glory: "what remains [the new covenant of grace] is much more glorious." This glory remains, because it depends upon God's sufficiency.

Dear Father of Glory, the glory I often experience is mere natural enthusiasm concerning all that I promise to do for You. I confess that glory fades so quickly. Lord, I humbly look to You afresh for the work of Your grace within my life. By Your sufficiency, produce in me a remaining glory, for Your honor and pleasure, Amen.

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