A profound inner change takes place when a person is born-again. Not only are our sins forgiven, but our spiritual capacities are radically increased. After being born-again a person is not the same person as they were before (2Co 5:17). This does not mean that all our attitudes and behaviors are instantly "Christ-like." But our potential to become Christ-like has changed dramatically. Probably the best word to describe our new condition is "freedom." A born-again person is finally free--free to see and hear a whole new world they hardly knew existed before. And most importantly, free to draw close to God because God is the source from which flows all the resources we need.
In today's lesson we'll start by watching the transformation Moses underwent as he drew close to God. We'll also notice the strange response he met with when people saw that transformation. Then we'll turn to a passage in Paul's letter in which he explains the spiritual meaning of this event and we'll learn why we are now free to draw near to God until we too shine with His glory.
Read: Exodus 33:17-23; 34:5-8, 28-35; 2 Corinthians 3:4-18
Moses put a veil over his face because the people had a veil over their hearts (vs. 13-15).
1) The people reacted with fear (Ex 34:30) and their minds were hardened
2) How does a veil over the heart develop? There are two sources:
- The veil is a defensive mechanism we put up to protect ourselves from being convicted by the Spirit (our consciences) and thus having to repent (Mt 13:10-17; Jn 3:20)
- There is a spiritual force aggressively trying to deceive us so that we'll rebel and trying to confuse us so we'll misunderstand (2Co 4:3, 4; Mt 13:4, 18, 19)
This veil comes off the heart only when a person is born-again. Before that they are spiritually blind to Christ.
1) Unless one is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3)
2) "The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you" (Jn 14:17)
3) "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (Jn 15:14)
4) "And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized" (Ac 9:18)
5) There's no point trying to teach spiritual truth to those who are not born-again. They can't comprehend it. (This is why Jesus taught in parables.)
6) The first step is to choose to obey what the Spirit reveals (Jn 16:8-11), then the Spirit transforms us.
When the veil comes off, we are free to draw near to Jesus Christ in worship and behold His glory.
1) 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6
2) "Therefore brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus!" (He 10:19-22)
Then, like Moses, we too are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1) "We are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2Co 3:18)
2) It was the Holy Spirit who changed Moses when he beheld Christ, and it is the same Holy Spirit that changes us now when we behold Christ.
3) We are transformed into His image:
- Attitude: fear/faith; discouragement/hope; confusion/purpose; selfishness/love
- Character (Gal 5:22): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- Strength (Isa 40:31): "will gain new strength"
- Power for ministry (2Co 3:5): "our adequacy is from God"
Different leaders in the Bible used different terms for this process:
1) Isaiah: "wait upon the Lord" (Isa 40:31)
2) Jesus: "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink" (Jn 7:37, 38); "abide in Me" (Jn 15:4)
3) Paul: "set your mind on the Spirit" (Ro 8:6); "walk in the Spirit" (Gal 4:16)
4) Hebrews: "fixing our eyes on Jesus" (Heb 12:2)
Regardless of what we call it, thankfully we are now free to do it. We can draw close to Him and let His glory transform us until we shine.
1) It's hard to put our feelings into words but do the best you can to describe a moment when you were very close to God in worship.
2) The glory on Moses' face began fading as soon as he left God's presence and ours does too. Why do you think we have a hard time staying "full of the Spirit"? What would a person have to do in order to stay "transformed" all the time? (Here's help: Ro 8:5-7; Ga 5:16-25)