The Glory of the Spiritual Ministry
2 Cor. 3:7 – 11
The Jewish false apostles pride themselves for possessing and proclaiming the old covenant. Paul
teaches or tells us that the new covenant is vastly superior to the old covenant. He has confidence
and courage in the fact that his ministry is one of much greater glory, for he has been appointed as a
servant of the new covenant, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been using the word glory since
last week, but I overlooked the fact that the word glory is used in the Bible six ways. So, before I will
start my message let me tell you first how the word glory is used in the Bible.
A. Its meaning: (Hebrew: kabhod; Greek: doxa)
1. Abundance, wealth, treasure, and hence honour (Ps. 49:12); glory (Gen. 31:1;
Mat. 4:8; Rev. 21:24, 26).
2. Honour, dignity (1Kings 3:13; Heb. 2:7; 1Pet. 1:24); of God (Ps. 19:1; Ps. 29:1);
of the mind or heart (Gen. 49:6; Ps. 7:5; Acts 2:46).
3. Splendour, brightness, majesty (Gen. 45:13; Isa 4:5; Acts 22:11; 2Co 3:7); of
Jehovah (Isa. 59:19; Isa. 60:1; 2Th. 1:9).
4. The glorious moral attributes, the infinite perfections of God (Isa. 40:5; Acts 7:2;
Rom. 1:23; Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:12). Jesus is the “brightness of the Father’s glory”
(Heb. 1:3; Jn. 1:14; Jn. 2:11).
5. The bliss of heaven (Rom. 2:7, 10; Rom. 5:2; Rom. 8:18; Heb. 2:10; 1Pet. 5:1,
6. The phrase “Give glory to God” (Jos. 7:19; Jer. 13:16) is a Hebrew idiom
meaning, “Confess your sins.” The words of the Jews to the blind man, “Give
God the praise” (Jn. 9:24), are an adjuration to confess. They are equivalent to,
“Confess that you are an impostor,” “Give God the glory by speaking the truth;”
for they denied that a miracle had been wrought. (Illustrated Bible Dictionary:
And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and
Illustration 1: God’s Covenants In Bible
Future events hinge on God’s covenants with His people. An important part of the study of Bible
prophecy is based on the interpretation of these divine covenants.
There are 8 important Bible covenants:
Edenic Covenant—Gen. 1:26-28; Gen. 2:15-17.
Adamic Covenant—Gen. 3:14-19.
Noahic Covenant—Gen. 8:21-9:17, 24-27.
Abrahamic Covenant—Gen. 12:1-3.
Mosaic Covenant—Ex. 19:5-8.
Palestinian Covenant—Deut. 28:63-68; Deut. 30:1-9.
Davidic Covenant—2 Sam. 7:4-17; 1 Chron. 17:3-15.
New Covenant—Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13.
All of these Bible covenants—except the Mosaic—are unconditional and eternal. That is, they
depend on God, not man, for fulfilment.
II. New Covenant (2 Cor. 3: 7-8)
A. New Covenant (2 Cor. 3:7-8, Jer. 31:1-33; Heb. 8:7-13; 10:9-22). This is God’s
promise to give free blessing to men through Jesus Christ. It was given to the nation
Israel (Jer. 31:1-34), but Christians also share in the spiritual aspects of the New
covenant through Christ (Heb. 8:7-13). The New covenant with Israel promises that
God will restore them to their promised land and give them a new heart to obey
Him. This will happen when Jesus returns from Heaven (Rom. 11:25-27; Zech. 13).
B. “The ministration of death”. The letter killeth or the law kills (2 Cor. 3:6) in the
sense that it brings knowledge of sin. It acts as a ministry of death because no one
can satisfy the demands of the law. Even then, it is still indeed glorious.
C. The old covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) was given on Mount Sinai with awesome
evidences of God ‘s glory, such as thunder and lightning and trumpet-like blasts. No
one was to get too close to that mountain, or they would die (Ex. 19:16-26). The
people were so terrified that they pled with Moses to intercede with God so He
would not come to speak directly with them lest they perish (Ex. 20:18-21). Great
glory was associated with the old covenant, even the Shekinah glory (Ex. 16:7, 10;
24:16-17; 28:2, 40; 29:43; 40:34).
D. The glory of the old covenant however, is temporary. At first Moses have to veil his
face because it really glows. This glow was only for s short period of time. Eventually
it faded. It was a temporary glory and a temporary lighting of his face. It was an
outward reflection from seeing God. The glory of the old covenant was passing, it
was written in stones. The glory of the New covenant was permanent, it was written
in the heart.
E. The glory of the new covenant is greater. Our Lord ‘s incarnation revealed His glory
(Jn. 1:14). Men saw God ‘s glory at our Lord ‘s birth (Lk. 2:9, 14). Jesus revealed His
glory to His three disciples at His transfiguration (Lk. 9:31-32) and by means of His
miracles (Jn. 2:11). When He returns to this earth, it will be in all of His glory (Lk.
F. “The ministration of the Spirit” is Paul’s description of the New Covenant. If Paul is
explaining that if such glory attended the giving of the Law under the ministry that
brought death, how much more glorious will be the ministry of the Spirit in the New
Covenant which brings righteousness. The law pointed to the superior New
Covenant and thus a glory that must also be more superior.
III. Condemnation and righteousness (2 Cor. 3:9-10).
A. “For if the ministration of condemnation be glory…” (2 Cor. 3:9): This contrast
reveals the effects of law and grace. Law brings condemnation without salvation.
Grace brings righteousness without retribution. The law revealed the justice of God.
Grace reveals the mercy of God. The word ministration of condemnation is another
name or term for the ministry of death. (verse 7). The ministration of righteousness
is another word or term for the New Covenant which emphasizes on righteousness it
B. The Law was not given for the purpose of salvation, for there is no salvation through
obedience to the Law.
C. The ministry of the New Covenant produces righteousness and changes lives to the
glory of God. Man’s greatest need is righteousness, and God’s greatest gift is
righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. “For if righteousness come by the Law,
then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). The person who tries to live under the Law
will find himself feeling more and more guilty, and this can produce a feeling of
hopelessness and rejection. It is when we trust Christ and live by faith in God’s grace,
that we experience acceptance and joy.
D. “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect… “ (2 Cor. 3:10):
The glory on the face of Moses was temporary, though real, and passed away (verse
7), a type of the dimming of the glory of the old dispensation by the brightness of
the new. The moon makes a dim light after the sun rises. Christ as the Sun of
Righteousness has thrown Moses in the shade. Read the claims of superiority by
Christ in Matthew 5-7.
E. The sum total of what the Old Testament Law Cannot Do: It cannot justify (Acts
13:38-39; Gal. 2:16). It cannot redeem (Rom. 3:24-31; Gal. 3:13-14). It cannot give
an inheritance (Rom. 4:13-14). It cannot control sin in man (Rom. 7:7-23; 8:2). It
cannot free from sin and death (Rom. 8:2). It cannot free a sinner from
condemnation (Rom. 8:1-4). It cannot bring righteousness (Rom. 8:4). It cannot
impart the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:2). It cannot free from the curse (Gal. 3:10,14). It
cannot impart grace (Gal. 5:4). It cannot enable a man to obey (Heb. 7:18). It
cannot make perfect (Heb. 7:19).
Illustration 3: We Are Made Righteous
Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25). It is He alone who
is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the
Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9).
Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ’s is
counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of
damnation, we are made righteous (Is. 61:10) by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As a result, will spend
eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God. Our righteousness.
IV. Past and present (2 Cor. 3:11).
A. “For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is
glorious” (2 Cor. 3:11): The old covenant, or law, was glorious. The Decalogue is
done away. Christ “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Col.
2:14). The law is not “done away” in the sense that its principles are not in force. It is
“done away” in its relation to salvation. It is fulfilled in Christ and the Gospel (Mat.
5:17). We are not “under law, but under grace.” See Hebrews 8:13. If that which was
done away is glorious, much more is that glorious, which abides forever! Christianity
is still alive; it is not dying. It is not a system of self-improvement. It is the inner
power of a great transforming power (Rom. 1:1 6; 12:1, 2).
The New Covenant is more glorious and more superior than the Old Covenant. We are
not under the law anymore but we are under grace. Put your faith in Christ now and be
made righteous by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.