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“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (Read v. 7-18)

Does your face shine? Does it, like the face of Moses, reflect the glory of the LORD God? But, does it diminish as did the face of Moses after he had talked to the LORD and shared the words of the LORD with the people, or is it growing in brightness? Are you reflecting more and more of the Lord’s glory every day?

When Moses entered into the presence of the LORD God, his face shone with the glory of God; but after sharing God’s Word with the people, Moses put a veil over his face so the people would not see that glory fading away. But he removed the veil when he went back into the presence of the LORD and again reflected God’s glory for a time as he shared God’s Word with the people (cf. Exodus 34:29-35; Mark 9:2-10).

The apostle Paul tells us that veil remains over the heart of the unbelieving Jews to this day. When they hear the law of God read and proclaimed, they see its glory but they do not see that glory fade away because of man’s sinfulness and inability to keep God’s commandments. And with that veil over their face, they fail to see a greater and more glorious covenant established by the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of Christ Jesus in our stead. With the veil over their eyes, they do not see the fading glory of God’s law or their need for a Savior from sin and eternal death.

But when we, by the grace of God, come to Christ and place our faith and hope in Him and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, the veil is lifted from our eyes. Instead of attempting to be righteous in God’s eyes by the keeping of the law, we acknowledge our failures to keep that law and look to the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ in our stead. We recognize that Jesus has fulfilled God’s laws for us and that He paid in full for all our sins when He died upon the cross and rose again (cf. 1 John 2:1-2; Romans 10:4).

Those with the veil over their face may try their best to keep God’s law and measure up to His glory; but no matter how hard they try, they fail and come short (cf. Rom. 3:23). But those of us who place our hope in the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 3:24-26) are counted righteous and holy for Jesus’ sake and are being changed by the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit into the image of Christ.

The closer we draw to our Savior, the more the Spirit is able to transform us into the image of Christ. And, of course, that sanctifying work will finally be completed in us when we are raised up on the last day in a perfect and glorified body like our Lord Jesus (cf. Romans 8:28-30; 1 John 3:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:49ff.; Philippians 3:20-21).

Dear Lord Jesus, as we see You through Your Word and behold Your glory, change us more and more into Your image until that day when we are changed and raised up without sin to be like You. We ask this for the sake of the redemption You accomplished for all when You suffered and died upon the cross and rose again. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]

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“But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.” Exodus 34:34-35 (Read v. 29-35)

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with God’s commandments, he didn’t realize that his face shown with God’s glory because he had been in the presence of the LORD God. Because of it, the people were afraid to come near him.

Moses wore a veil over his face so that the people could not see the glory fading away (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:13). He took off the veil when he went in before the LORD in the tabernacle of meeting. He came out and told the people the words of the LORD and then covered his face with the veil until he next went in before the LORD.

As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, the same veil yet remained and prevented the people of Israel from seeing that the glory of the Old Covenant was fading away because its purpose was to point people to Christ and the New Covenant instituted by Messiah Jesus when He shed His blood on the cross and made atonement for the sins of all people (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8-9). It is only when people come to faith in Christ that the veil is lifted and people come to see the Old Covenant in its proper light – not as a way of salvation but pointing to Christ Jesus and the salvation He provided by His atoning sacrifice!

Today, too, people fail to see the fading glory of the Old Covenant and wish to use the New Covenant only as a patch on the Old. They miss out on the glories of the New Covenant and fail to take hold of the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting which are ours through faith in Christ Jesus and His blood shed for us upon the cross.

Does the veil still cover your eyes? Are you looking to your own works and obedience under the law for your salvation? Or has the veil been removed? Do you see your sins and failures under the law and look in faith to Christ Jesus and His perfect obedience and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for the sins of the world as the basis of your salvation?

O glorious Savior, open my eyes to see my sins and shortcomings under the law and grant that I believe the gospel and place my faith alone in You and Your sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of the world. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]

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“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?” Isaiah 40:27

Sometimes it may seem that God does not know the troubles we face in life, that our problems are hidden from the LORD God and His help and strength are not near. But that could not be further from the truth.

Our God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He formed each of us in the womb and gave us life (cf. Psalm 139:13-16). He paid attention to the tiniest of details and yet He is the almighty and all-knowing God.

Verse 26 reminds us of God’s creative power: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”

Is there any problem or trouble too great for the LORD God who created and keeps the stars to remedy?

His Word also asks us in verses 28: “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”

He certainly is not asleep and oblivious to our prayers! He is not weary from all his work or too weak to hear and intervene for us. And His knowledge and understanding are so great we cannot begin to search out, understand and know His thoughts toward us.

Consider the words of Psalm 139:1-6: “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

And, while it may sometimes appear that God does not know our troubles or hear our prayers, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29).

Verses 30-31 assure us: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Is our way hidden from the Lord? Has He skipped over our case and neglected judgment in our need? Never! He knows all and gives to all of us who trust in Him help and strength to rise above our troubles and keep our eyes focused on Him! He assures that, for the sake of Christ Jesus and His cross, He forgives our sins and accepts us as His children; and He promises us: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5; cf. Ephesians 1:3ff.).

For Jesus’ sake, we have the assurance that we can go to Him in prayer with our needs and He will hear and answer our prayers in accord with His perfect will (cf. 1 John 5:14-16; Matthew 7:7-11).

O gracious and merciful God, we thank You for watching over us and keeping us in all our ways. Grant us help and strength to hold fast to You in faith until you take us to our eternal home in heaven for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.…” Colossians 1:3-6 (Read Colossians 1:1-8)

Though the Apostle Paul may never have visited the church in Colosse, when he heard of their faith in Christ Jesus and the resulting love these believers had for their fellow believers, he, together with Timothy, gave thanks to God for giving them the confident hope of eternal life in heaven through Christ Jesus.

The good news of God’s offer of pardon and forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life in heaven because God the Son became a true man and redeemed mankind reached the ears of the Colossians through Epaphras and, perhaps, others; and faith in Jesus was kindled in their hearts.

As the good news of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven for Jesus’ sake was used to generate faith in the hearts of the believers at Colosse nearly 2,000 years ago, so this same message generates faith in human hearts today. The same Gospel, that word of truth, tells us of the certain hope laid up for us in heaven, not because of anything we have done or can do, but because God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and suffered and died for the sins of all and rose again in victory. God’s Word tells us that His gift to us for Jesus’ sake is life everlasting in the mansions of heaven.

Such a gracious gift of God – the forgiveness of all our sins because of His own Son’s holy life and innocent sufferings and death in our stead and the assurance that we have a place in His eternal, heavenly kingdom – will also move us to selfless love for other believers and fellow heirs of eternal life in heaven; but this love is the result of God’s loving gift of salvation to us, not the cause of it.

What a comfort to know that, though we have sinned and come short of the holy demands of God’s good law, Jesus fulfilled it for us and took our sins upon Himself, paying the just penalty upon the cross that we might have forgiveness and life everlasting! And this hope which we have is not an uncertain hope, but simply waiting for the things assured to us by the promises of God. God has offered and promised to us a place in heaven through faith in His Son. That place has been made certain to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We await that day in confidence and assurance that heaven is ours for Jesus’ sake.

When we face the end of our lives here in this world, we need not doubt and wonder if we will make it into heaven – heaven is guaranteed to us because Jesus shed His blood for us and paid in full for all our sins. If our salvation depended upon us or anything we did, we could have no certainty and no hope; but because it depends upon Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for us, we have every assurance and hope of everlasting life in the mansions of our heavenly Father’s house!

Paul wrote this letter while he was himself a prisoner because there were those who were seeking to rob these believers of the assurance and hope they had in Jesus by placing other demands upon them – suggesting such things as the worshiping of angels, eating of certain foods or observing certain days. Today, too, there are many false teachers who would suggest and say that to be true Christians people must exercise certain gifts, eat certain foods or observe certain days. The apostle’s message, the true gospel, is that we are complete in Jesus – our salvation and everlasting life is certain in Him – there is nothing we need add to His redemptive work!

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for graciously bringing to us the word of truth, the saving gospel of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through faith in Your Son, Christ Jesus. By Your Spirit, move us to believe and take heart and be assured that, for Jesus’ sake, our sins are forgiven and, for Jesus’ sake, we have life everlasting with You in heaven. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

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