Our “acceptance” (Eph 1:6) in the Father is sustained by the same provision which established it—the life of Christ—thus there can be nothing in the believer’s new life in Christ (Col 3:4) which can possibly effect the continuance of this acceptance. But rather, the Father’s intention of salvation is for use of glorification (Matt 5:16), which establishes two primaries: the drawing of the lost and the maturing and strengthening of the saved. The believer’s sustenance is not his faith, nor his worship, but his union in “Christ, who is our life.”
The Glory Of Grace
The Law was a ministration of condemnation and death (2 Cor 3:7). It set forth, not what God is, but what man ought to be. This was fatal to the creature. And now the ministry of the law is “that which is done away” (2 Cor 3:11a). The Gospel, on the contrary, is “that which remaineth” (2 Cor 3:11b). It will never fade before a brighter glory. It is not the statement of what man ought to be, but of what God the Father is! He has revealed Himself in His Son, and in a manner blessedly suitable to our good and condition. It is not merely introduced with, but it subsists in, glory.
This is the glory that “excelleth” (2 Cor 3:10). It is the divine testimony to One, Who, having accomplished redemption has gone up into the glory of God. Him we gaze upon with unveiled face, in perfect peace in the presence of infinite holiness. The children of Israel could not look upon Moses’ face because of its brightness; but it is ours to gaze without interruption upon the glory our Father in the face of His Beloved Son. He did not take His seat in that glory until every question relating to our souls was fully settled, and every foe silenced.
Unlike Moses who went up into the Mount, saying, “Peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin” (Ex 32:30). While the people stood trembling and mourning at the foot—the Lord Jesus first made atonement and then went up to take His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high. If our sins were not all entirely removed before He was thus glorified, they never can be, for He will never come to earth to die again. Righteousness was accomplished, and the Father was glorified, ere that place was taken by the Second Man, the Lord Jesus. Hence the brighter the glory that shines in His face, the fuller the proof to our souls, and the deeper our peace and blessedness.
It is a ministry of righteousness, not in requiring it as under the law, but in revealing it in the Lord Jesus. “Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom 3:21, 22).
It is a ministry of the Spirit also. This God never even proposed to confer as the result of law-keeping. The holy anointing oil could not be poured on flesh (Ex 30:31, 32). The Spirit could not be granted as the reward of man’s work. But the Father put His honor on the work of the Lord Jesus. The Spirit had come out from the glory into which the Lord Jesus has entered, as the Father’s gift to all who believe the Gospel. It is not a dry abstract statement of doctrine, but a blessed testimony to the Saviour’s glory.
The Spirit of God having come, He leads up our hearts to where the Lord Jesus is. The new man finds delight in Him, nowhere else. The Spirit is the living link between us and the Beloved in glory. He causes us to gaze upon Him, and we become progressively “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18). This is true Christianity—the heart drawn off from things here, and lovingly occupied with the One at the Father’s right hand. This we may call the permanent result of the Gospel, though there is progression in the experience of it. From the moment we believe we are sealed, our faces are turned upward and our backs are turned upon the world, and we become increasingly conformed to His image. It is the delight of the Spirit to make us so (John 16:14; 2 Cor 3:18).