And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. —2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
Moses had a rare experience with God. He spoke “face to face” with God on Mount Sinai. Due to his proximity to God, Moses became infused with God’s glory so much so that it shined from Moses’ face for a period of time that well beyond the time spent on that mountain together. But Moses knew that, inevitably, the glory of God he reflected out into the world he was, with time, going to fade. To protect the children of Israel, whose golden-calf-worshiping-hearts were very hard, from observing the fading glory of God, he put a veil over his face. The only visual evidence they would have that Moses talked to God would be Ten Commandments etched in stone.
Paul describes a different experience with the glory of God for those He called to reach the nations with the gospel. While Moses witnessed the fading of God’s glory from the earth, because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world, the people of God never have to witness the fading of God’s glory.
The veil Paul writes about represents a separation of people from God. But in this new relationship we have with God by the Spirit, the veil is removed. This is the gospel we are living and preaching to the nations. Living this impacts how we relate to God, and how we relate spiritually to those we’re on mission to reach. There is a level of intimacy with people who don’t know God that we now have through the Spirit of God, that was never possible before we, ourselves, came into relationship with Jesus. This empowers us with glory that never wanes.
Our motivation ebbs and flows. Financial resources go through cycles of ups-and-downs. Opposition gains strength and disappears and then, sometimes, makes a come-back, but God’s glory never fades.
The Holy Spirit “writes” his law on your heart. Your transformed life is evidence God gave you a new heart. The glory of God, through His Spirit, has changed us, and He’ll use each one of us to continue to transform those we’re called to reach. Paul experienced this time after time, wrestled with the theology of it, and then wrote it down in letters to the people in the churches he planted while on mission. He did this to build them up and encourage them within the framework of God’s unfading glory.
There is a strong temptation to think that our work in missions like the container of milk in your refrigerator, has an expiration date. God’s glory does not have a shelf-life. That is what Paul was telling those who came to faith through his mission work.
As God’s agents of this transforming glory we have great hope. New possibilities are inevitable through the new relationships established on the mission field where God has called you.