The Greater Glory
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. – 2 Corinthians 3:9 (NKJV)
A preacher. A bus. The passengers.
The preacher talks about his experience in hell. He paints a burly image of horn-hitched demons with huge pitchforks, guiding the seven gates of hades. They are not smiling. Two teeth bulge through their side lips like cleverly, sharpened saw. Their cold stares in such a hot place send frightful shrills down your fragile spine. But the preacher is on a divine assignment. He is kept. But he hears cries, agonizing voices that still crawl into his dreams till now. Voices that keep him awake to do the Lord’s work. He mentions popular entertainers he meets in hell. Pastors who don’t make the heaven’s cut. He remembers a woman, whose penciled heels and stupendous earrings, earned her a wailing, furnaced spot. The preacher whips his words into your heart. Tells you how the purity of heaven doesn’t negotiate with your tiniest, silliest sin. He drills his words into your soul. You can now feel the heaviness of your guilt tightening, quite hard, at your chest. No mention of Jesus. No mention of the cross. But he succeeds in bringing you to tears. You cry. “I am a sinner, Lord. Forgive me.”
For even the ministry of condemnation has its glory.
Take the subject of the seriousness of sin and walking in the flesh for instance. Like Galatians 5: 17-24, Romans 8: 5-10 paints the conflict of the Spirit with the flesh. You see the flesh in all its ugliness and bestiality. You can dissect and expound. The Anatomy of the Flesh. The War Within. Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine. Types of Lusts. The Damage of the Flesh. These are very important clarity on the depth, shade, shape, size and strength of your struggles. Poof! You see them. You see your weaknesses. You see your failures, your falls, your faults, your frailties. There was a glory in there.
But there is a greater glory. You desire it. We always do.
Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
That’s a eureka moment. Suddenly, a light hits your spirit. The reason you indulge the flesh isn’t just because you don’t know about the anatomy or manifestations of the flesh. You are not ignorant of the problem. Even if you were and are now biblically clear about it, you realize that’s just a leg of your personal healing. There is a glory there, but you desire the ministry that exceeds much more in glory. It dawns. You are not yet enlightened about the solution. Now you understand you must walk in the spirit to starve the flesh of its affections and lusts. So, you ask, how can I walk in the Spirit?
For you see clearly now, understanding that solution is the greater glory.
The issue with the law wasn’t that it wasn’t holy, it was because it couldn’t make anyone holy. The law came from God. It had a purpose. It served a purpose. It had its glory. But those who look to it for salvation don’t find it. Those who think it has the answer are left with more questions. Their hearts cry for more. Their souls long for more. Until they behold the greater glory in the face of Jesus, and their hearts are stilled.
We run the risk of playing God without knowing God. It is like what many force the law to achieve. Advancing the very limitations of the law to men. The very limitations that God Himself intended so that the gaze of salvation, of true liberty, of grace and truth, can be fixed on someone else. Often, the motivations and intentions are honest, but driving people to God with the stick of guilt can never be in the spirit of the new covenant. We must be careful not to sensationalize people’s sins because we want them to confront it. We might be putting a heavier, burdensome load on their shoulders. It is plain pride to still look to self when we are seeking victory from sin. It is an insult to the potency of the cross to exalt people’s sin not the savior. There is a better way. The ministry of righteousness is built on a greater glory. It is built on preaching Jesus. You come to him, he gives rest. You learn of him, you find rest. Not only is he the foundation of your rest, he is also your daily experience of rest.
What then is the greater glory?
It is the revelation of the ministry of righteousness which exposes the bankruptcy of human efforts and offers the richness of God’s grace.
It is the invitation to abandon performance and embrace the rest that Christ gives.
It is an experience of love.
It is the word made flesh, which dwelt among men, whose glory is seen as the son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
It says, “Come unto me… Learn of me…”
It is Jesus.