In this passage, Paul exclaims that the glory of the Holy Spirit, who came to be in fellowship with believers after Jesus ascended into Heaven, far surpasses the glory of the 10 Commandments.
This is significant because, as we recall from the early Old Testament, keeping the 10 Commandments was the only way for the Israelites to honor their covenant with the Lord and remain God's chosen people. Before Jesus, God's law was the only way to be set apart in obedience to Him -- it was legalistic, and Paul even calls it condemning. However, he then goes on to tell the Corinthians the good news -- the glory held by the Holy Spirit is exceedingly more glorious, because now He is our means of being set apart as God's children, and He brings life abundant.
Paul distinguishes that the Commandments were merely a transitory and temporary way for people to either follow or turn away from God, but after Jesus's death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit took their place, and He is permanent. Verses 10-11 say "For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!"
Paul goes on to explain that our faces are no longer veiled to God's glory. Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, the gap between the Living God and His people is no more. This is all because of Jesus, who took our debt by dying on the cross so we can be in full fellowship with God. It is by the price of Christ alone that we were given the Spirit, who removed the veil of separation once and for all.
This means that we have direct access to God's mind and His heart. The Holy Spirit is Lord, and He is our partner and friend. That doesn't imply that we no longer have to keep God's commandments -- it just means that now our faith gets to be part of a relationship with Him, rather than legalistic obedience to two stone tablets. Let us never take advantage of the fellowship we have with the Spirit, because many who have gone before us never had that freedom.
Author | Meredith Ashburn