Unfading Glory

Dr. Ray Pritchard


Nostalgia can be deadly to your faith.

I suppose there is always a temptation to look back at the past and imagine that it is better than the present, especially if you find yourself in a hard place.

If you are old, you may wish you were young again.
If your children have left home, you may wish they were young again.
If you enjoyed your college years, perhaps you dream of reliving them again.

Just yesterday I received a notice for the 40th anniversary reunion of my high school graduating class. Never mind that it seems impossible that I graduated 40 years ago. Reunions can make us nostalgic for happier, simpler times. And sometimes those nostalgic thoughts can lead us in a wrong direction:

Those were happy days. These are hard days.
Those were good times. These are bad times.
Things were better then. Things are worse now.

Remembering the past is always important lest we forget who we are and where we come from, but living in the past can be deadly to our spiritual health. If we spend too much time pining for the past, we may miss God's blessings in the present. And we end up dreaming about what used to be instead of giving thanks for what we have right now.

The devil knows this, and that's why he uses our hazy memories of yesterday to trip us up spiritually. If only he can get us yearning for what used to be, he can distract us from what God has given us right now.

That's the basic background of 2 Corinthians 3. A group of false teachers had convinced the Corinthians of the great glory of Moses' day. They spoke so much of Moses and the law that Christ somehow seemed diminished in the process. In replying to these false teachers, Paul nowhere denigrates the days of Moses. He makes one point and he makes it in three ways:  We should be grateful for our blessings because what Jesus gives us is so much more glorious than anything we had in the past.

While reading this passage I was struck with the words "glory" and "glorious." In just five verses those two words show up ten times. If the false teachers said, "The law is glorious," Paul says, "But what Jesus gives us is more glorious." It's not bad versus good but rather good versus better. What Jesus brings us in the gospel is better in every way.

How exactly is the gospel "better" for us? Paul provides three answers in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11.

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