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