Freedom From Veils- 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

As we conclude our examination of this passage in 2 Corinthians, we now come to the climax of Paul’s explanation of the surpassing glory of the ministry of the Spirit as opposed to the ministry of the law. He has just told us that a “veil covers the hearts” of those who do not accept Christ. What he means by this is that they are unwilling to acknowledge their flaws and shortcomings, and they wear veils which are intended to protect them but ultimately lead to their destruction. These veils are intended to hide their inadequacies from others in an attempt to be accepted by others and avoid rejection, to avoid others having a negative opinion of them. All of this merely sets the stage for the highlight of Paul’s message to us. We now find, in verse 16, that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”. Those who come to Christ have been confronted with their flaws and shortcomings (the ministry of the Law), have admitted them, and have come to Christ flaws and all. They are also accepted by Christ flaws and all, and begin to grow in their relationship with Him. This growing relationship then serves to make them ever more aware of their flaws and shortcomings, which allows the Lord to be able to deal with them. Our inadequacies will only fade away as we openly acknowledge them, as we remove the veils and masks we wear to hide our inadequacies from others. It is this acknowledgment of them which then allows the Holy Spirit to help us deal with them and be free from them once and for all. We then find, in verses 17-18, what true freedom truly is, for only through the Spirit of the Lord can true freedom be found. The freedom which Paul refers to here is freedom from the veil, freedom to live with “unveiled faces”. It is living with an unveiled face that is crucial toward growth in the Christian life, for it is only with unveiled faces that we increasingly “reflect the Lord’s glory”, that we are “transformed into His likeness from glory to glory” (verse 18). So what exactly does it mean for a believer to live with an “unveiled face”, to live life without wearing the veil? We remember that the veil is generally worn in order to hide our inadequacies from others. This is primarily due to the basic human need to seek acceptance and avoid rejection. We wear masks to hide our inadequacies from others, to avoid the rejection we feel our inadequacies will bring. We wear them in order to be accepted by others. The freedom which Paul ultimately describes here is freedom from this need to wear a mask, freedom from the need to seek acceptance and avoid rejection from others. This comes because we have been accepted in Christ, inadequacies and all, and are not only free to admit our inadequacies so the Spirit may help us overcome them, but also free from the need to seek acceptance from others, because we have been accepted by the only one who truly matters, Jesus Christ. As we rest in the acceptance we have from Him, we are no longer concerned about what others think about us, about what their opinion of us may be. Those who look for acceptance from others focus on what others think of them, and ultimately become controlled by the opinions of others. The veil is intended to keep others from seeing our flaws and inadequacies, to try and make sure they have a good opinion toward us, that they will accept us and not reject us. The freedom from the veil which Christ provides is, then, the freedom from the opinions of others. We are set free from being controlled by the opinions of others, free to be “controlled” by God rather then other people, free to “reflect the Lord’s glory”, to be “transformed into His likeness from glory to glory”, which only come in the lives of those who live with unveiled faces.

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