Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Veiled Hearts

Let me take a moment and air out some thoughts I'm pondering right now for my talk Wednesday night. I have been doing a study on veils and their purposes in the scriptures. I stumbled upon this fascinating passage in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 where it compares our experience with God with that of Moses when he had to put a veil on his face in order to interact with the people of Israel.

Moses spent time face to face with the living God. This was such an intense experience that it changed his physical appearance - so much so that his people were afraid to look at him. So Moses covers his face when he is with the people and uncovers the veil when he is with God.

In 2 Corinthians Paul compares the veil with the laws of the Old Testament. The Israelites hid behind the Law- behind the rules. They avoided the glorious presence of God by instead focusing on rules and legalism. But the Israelites had an opportunity to speak with God face to face and they retreated (Exodus 20:18-21). Their focus was on the rules, not on the rule-giver.

"Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." (2 Cor. 3:16) Becoming a Christian and following Christ means to live a live that is unveiled. When we come to God, we need to remove all pretense - all barriers. Our inclination is to (like the Israelites) cling to the Law...to rules and legalism. We get distracted by the letter of the law instead of falling in love with the Law-Giver.

Have you ever met a Christian that is more concerned with rules and doctrine than loving the lost? Have you ever met a believer that reminds you of a dried up prune? There is no life in them. There is no visible presence of God in their lives. The radiance of God in their life is fading away.

We need to be people who remove the veil and take our chances with a full dose of the presence of God. 100% unadulterated presence of God. The passage in Corinthians goes on to say "and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory..." We are to reflect the Lord's glory, unveiled. Our gut reaction might be to go and hide behind rules and regulations - do's and dont's (after all, isn't that easier than pressing in towards God?). But what the scriptures are telling us to do is to strip all of that away and give people a full dose of the presence of God. That means we- like Moses- need to spend quality time in the presence of God.

Living our lives unveiled means that it would be a crime for the followers of Christ to hold anything back from those we come in contact with. The world will see the glories of God when they see Jesus in us. Unadulterated, unaltered, unveiled - pure faith, hope, and love.

What do you think? How do Christians veil the glory of God in our hearts and lives? How do we better remove the veil? Where is the line between holiness and legalism? Are we like the Israelites blinded by the Law?

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent article. The key is that balance that is very hard to keep. The law is to be used as a mirror, as a tutor to tell us about our need and point us to Christ. When we come to Christ, the law becomes a guideline in how we respond to God and others, not because it saves us or gives us more righteousness, but because we love God and want to keep His commands. Our relationship to the law changes at salvation, and our relationship to sin has also changed. We are dead to sin, and do not have to respond to it. We are uncomfortable when we are in it, and we cast it off as soon as it becomes apparent so as not to be out of fellowship with Christ.