2Corinthians 3:12-18 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remained the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.
‘Abolished’ – being done away as in 2Corinthians 3:7, 11, 14 [Greek: katargeo] make of no effect (Rom. 3:3; 4:14; Gal. 3:17; 5:4); come and bring to naught (1Cor. 1:28; 2:6); done away (1Cor. 13:10; 2Cor. 3:7, 11, 14); fail (1Cor. 13:8); cease (Gal. 6:11); vanish away (1Cor. 13:8); make void (Rom. 3:31); cumber (Luke 13:7); deliver (Rom. 7:6); loose (Rom. 7:2); put away (1Cor. 13:11); put down (1Cor. 15:24); destroy (Rom. 6:6; 1Cor. 6:13; 15:26; 2Thes. 2:8; Heb. 2:14); and abolish (2Cor. 3:13; Eph. 2:15; 2Tim. 1:10).
It is clear from these passages that whatever is abolished is completely null and void. What is it here that is abolished? It is the law of commandments in decrees or the law of dogmatic commandments. The word for ordinances is dogma translated as “decree” (Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; 17:7) and “ordinance” (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14). The law was made to expose sin (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:13; Gal. 3:19-25) and to keep the Jews a distinct people until Christ came. After that, it was no longer needed. This means by His death the law was abolished (Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14-17; 2Cor. 3:6-15).
‘Blinded: for until this day remained the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.’ By resting in the letter and shutting their eyes to the light, they became blind to the fact that the old covenant was abolished and done away with.
‘It shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.’ This is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in 2 Corinthians. ‘Turn to’ [Greek: epistrepho]. Translated “turn to, return, turn again and converted. When the heart shall turn to God this blindness will be taken away. Conversion is turning again to God, and if it is needful to turn to Him more than once, it can be done, as is clear in these passages.
‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty’ the freedom we have in Christ is that from sin, sickness and satan. It all starts in our spirits (thoughts) through His Spirit that will always remind us of His Word, as well as reprove us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14). We do not receive liberty to stay in the bondage of sin as some proclaim, but to be free of all bondage (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3). ‘With open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.’ The law was veiled in types and shadows of good things to come (Heb. 10:1). The gospel has practically no ceremonies in comparison. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two outward rituals. The gospel is in such simplicity that there can be no confusion as to its terms and blessings.