Freedom From Veils (Part Two)- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

In our previous post, we examined the basic human predisposition to wear a veil or mask to hide our flaws and shortcomings from others, and how faith in Christ frees us from this need to project an image of perfection to others and allows us to be genuine and authentic. It frees us from the need to pretend we are something we are not and allows us to be what we are created to be and do what we are created to do. We saw, in 2 Corinthians 3:16, that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”. This verse tells us of the fact of the veils removal and of the possibility of living with “unveiled faces”. This post will examine verses 17 and 18 in greater detail in order to demonstrate the full implications of living with unveiled faces, of living in true freedom. Paul begins verse 17 with an indicative statement, with a statement of fact, telling us that “the Lord is the Spirit”. The Lord here is obviously a reference to Jesus Christ, and He “is” in those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, so what follows obviously applies to all born again believers. We then are told that the Lord is “the Spirit”. The question then arises as to what is meant by “Spirit” here? From the biblical point of view, the Spirit is that part of human beings which causes us to search for meaning and purpose (1 Corinthians 2:6-8), it is the part of us which causes every human being to ask the questions “who am I” and “why am I here”? It must be noted here that the Lord is “the” Spirit, not “a” Spirit. What this implies is that it is the Lord who is the true and ultimate source of meaning and purpose, that only the Lord gives true meaning and purpose to life, and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. In Christ, we are set free from our search for meaning and purpose in life, for we find them only in Him (Acts 17:28). The Greek word “freedom” here is eleutheria, a word literally meaning “unfettered”. In Christ, the chains which bind us are removed, and we are freed to be what we are meant to be, freed to live with unveiled faces. This phrase “unveiled faces”, serves as a metaphor for our true identity. We identify others by their faces, and the face here represents our true identity, and living with an unveiled face means living with the freedom to be who we truly are and not be ashamed of it. We then find that it is only as we live with unveiled faces that we “reflect the Lord’s glory”. The Greek word reflect here literally refers to an image seen in a mirror. Human beings were created to be the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), and we all “reflect the Lord’s glory” by being what God created us to be and doing what He created us to do, and we can only do so by living with unveiled faces. As we do so, we are “being transformed” (present tense, a process) into His likeness, we are finding our true identity and becoming what we are, and all that we are meant to be. We do so with “ever-increasing glory”, we not only find out who we truly are, but also discover our true sense of self worth. We discover who we are and who we are meant to be, we discover our true value and worth, our true meaning and purpose. All of this comes “from the Lord”, we find our meaning, purpose and worth in Him alone, and not from anyone or anything else. This is the only source of true freedom, freedom from the expectations of others, freedom from the control of others, since they don’t give us our sense of worth, meaning and purpose, but God does, since what we look to to define us is what is going to drive us. So we find here, then, that in Christ we are truly and fully set free. Free to be what we are created to be and do what we are created to do. Free to discover who we really are. Free from the control of others, free to live out our true meaning and purpose, free to live with “unveiled faces”, free to be “transformed into His likeness”, free from the shame and guilt which others use to control us, unashamed to be who we are meant to be and do what we are meant to do, unashamed to remove our masks.

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