“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
This morning in church, we read the above passage. I can’t really explain why, but as I followed along, that little phrase in the last verse jumped out at me—“unveiled faces.” I read the passage two or three times through, and marveled at what wonderful news this must have been for Paul to disclose to the early Church. Paul and his followers had unveiled faces. I have an unveiled face. There is no curtain of the Law, no heavy weight of the Old Testament covenant weighing me down. There is no veil. My face is revealed, naked, transparent. I am invited into the presence of God in a way that the Israelites of Moses’ time never were.
There is no physical sacrifice to atone for my sins. There is no hiding behind a hardened heart that can’t accept grace. And best of all, there is no bondage of the Law, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” My relationship with God is not a subservient one as the relationship between a master and a slave would be. There is no “pleasing God”, no strict obedience to a set of commands or an obligation to fulfill them.
My relationship with God is a personal one, like the relationship between a father and his daughter. Or between a mother and her daughter. It is personal. If I screw up, there are consequences, but the deepest consequence of all is that I’ve damaged a relationship I cherish, not that I’ve displeased a master or failed in my duty to obey. That is the significance of 2 Corinthians 3:18 and of the removal of the veil.