The basic idea of today’s reading, jam packed as it is with content, is that a relationship to God through Jesus Christ brings a person into a deeper experience of the glory of God than does a relationship to God through the Law.
Whereas the person who lives by the Law will find themselves feeling more and more guilty, the person who trusts in Jesus so that they live by faith in God’s grace will experience acceptance and joy. Whereas a person who lives by the legalism of the law will find themselves all wrapped up in keeping rules and regulations and ensuring that others do likewise, the person who relates to God through Jesus will find themselves living in the freedom of the Spirit, even as Jesus did.
Clearly, God wants people to do what is right and best not because of an external code, but because of our internal character. This means that though Christians are free from the law, they are not lawless; to the contrary, we are being transformed into the very image of Jesus that we might radiate from within (and not just reflect from without) the glory of God. If that is not exciting, I don’t know what is.
This is our great hope; that we will come to live in the unfading, eternal, unimaginable glorious presence of God. And that is why we share our hope with others with great boldness; because we want them to know this glory too. It is the best gift anyone could ever give to another human being.
Which, of course, raises questions like these: Are we sharing it? How are we doing in our relationships with those who are far from God? Just when was the last time we talked to someone far from God about Jesus? How bold are we?
If you are anything like me, these verses remind me I still have a long way to go.