This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Practical Theology | From Glory to Glory

  • October 2021 Issue
Practical Theology

“The gospel not only reveals the glory of God by showing Christ to us but also transforms us into His image with ever-increasing glory.”

Moses played a distinctive role in God’s redemptive plan. He also enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Deuteronomy 34:10 says that there was no prophet like Moses “whom the LORD knew face to face.” When he came down from Mount Sinai, radiance emanated from Moses’ face (Ex. 34:30). This radiance reflected God’s glory, which was also displayed in the cloud of glory that settled on Sinai (Ex. 24:16). This same cloud of glory was present in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and later at the Temple, a visible testimony of God’s presence.

While God’s glory was evident at the delivery of the law, the apostle Paul notes that the ministry of the gospel is even more glorious (2 Cor. 3:7–18). It surpasses the glory of the Mosaic law in three important ways. First, it provides righteousness rather than just demanding it. The law made us aware of sin, a “ministry of death,” because it “brought condemnation” (v. 7). The gospel has the opposite result because it is a “ministry that brings righteousness” (v. 9). Second, the law that came through Moses was temporary and was meant to give way to the gospel. Paul describes the law as “transitory” but calls the gospel “that which lasts” (vv. 10–11). Third, while the law erects a barrier to God’s presence because of our sin, the gospel opens the way to bold access because it solves our sin problem. Christ opens the way into God’s presence for every believer (vv. 12, 17-18).

The chief difference between the law and the gospel is that one does its work externally and the other internally. The law displays God’s righteousness and justice and shows us how high the standard really is. The law can only address the problem of sin from the outside. The righteousness promised in the gospel is brought about by the Holy Spirit and works from the inside. The gospel not only reveals the glory of God by showing Christ to us but also transforms us into His image “with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (v. 18).

For Further Study

To learn more, read Glorious Freedom by Richard Sibbes (Banner of Truth).

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

Find Practical Theology by Month