Done Away in Christ

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.

The Ministration of Death

2Corinthians 3:7-11 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excells. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious. 

‘Written and engraven in stones’ – the Ten Commandments, in particular, were abolished along with the whole law of Moses (Acts 15; Gal. 1:6; 3:1-5; 5:4). The only ones of the law of Moses that were brought into and made a part of the new covenant are for Christians to obey. The ten commandments were the only part of the law of Moses written on the tables of stone (Ex. 24:12; 31:18; 34:1-4; Deut. 4:13; 5:22; 9:9-11; 10:1-3).

From Galatians 1:6 we see that the Galatians turned back away from Christ to serve the law again – here it was called another gospel which: couldn’t justify (Gal. 2:16; 3:11; 5:4); brings only the curse (Gal. 3:10); is not of faith (Gal. 3:12); cannot give an inheritance (Gal. 3:18); was added only to make sin sinful (Gal. 3:19; Rom. 3:19-20; 7:13; 1Jn. 3:4); was given only until Christ came (Gal. 3:19, 23-25; Heb. 7:28; 9:9-10; Luke 16:16); could not give life nor righteousness (Gal. 3:21); was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ (Gal. 3:24-26; Matt. 11:11; Luke 16:16); is not in force for Christians (Gal. 3:19-25; Acts 15); makes servants, not sons (Gal. 4:1-3); brings bondage (Gal. 4:9, 24; 5:1); was a religion of days, etc. (Gal. 4:10); could not give the new birth (Gal. 4:28-30); was cast out (Gal. 4:21-31); demanded circumcision (Gal. 5:2-3); if observed, cancels grace (Gal. 5:4).

‘Glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance.’ Moses talked to Israel veiled, but when he went unveiled into the tabernacle to talk to God (Ex. 34:33-34). ‘By reason of the glory that excells’ – the reason the new covenant excels the old is that the old was only for a time (2Cor. 3:7; Gal. 3:19, 25; 4:30; Heb. 9:9-10), a place – Palestine (Deut. 5:16; 11:9; 28:8; 31:13), and a people – the Jews (Deut. 5:3; Rom. 2:12-16). The new covenant is for all time, all lands, and all people (Matt. 26:28; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; John 3:16; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:9-14; 1Cor. 12:13).

The Sin of Partiality

James 2:1, 8-9 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. If you fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, you do well: But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 

Do not have the faith of Christ with partiality. Do not prefer the rich merely because of riches, and not for their moral, spiritual, and public usefulness (Jas. 2:1-4) or anyone for that matter because of what they look like or what they own or their station in life.

The law of both the old and new covenants demanded that men love their neighbours as themselves (Lev. 19:18; Mat. 22:39; Rom.13:8-9; Gal. 5:14). The new covenant – the perfect law of liberty – is referred to here, which came from God and was emphasized by Christ as being suitable and necessary to all men (John 13:34; 15:12).

If you show any degree of partiality and injustice you break God’s law and you are a transgressor (1Jn. 3:4).