God’s Presence Transforms His People
Open Your Bible
Exodus 19:1-9, Exodus 19:16-20, Exodus 34:5-14, Exodus 34:27-35, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Like Moses’s face made radiant by standing in God’s presence on Mt. Sinai, God’s people are transformed by life in His presence.
When I read picture books about the garden of Eden to my children, I get asked a lot of questions about all the nakedness. “I can see Adam’s bottom!” my son shouts, knowing a cause for gleeful hilarity when he sees one. So, why were they naked? Genesis tells us there was no need for coverings because they were without shame (Genesis 2:25). In our original created state, our bottoms aren’t hilarious or embarrassing; they are what they are, which is to say, glorious hind ends. But the shame we experience as a result of our sin takes away our freedom. God’s holy and righteous presence can shine a light on our humiliation, but through the power of Christ, He has also taken away our shame and given us freedom from it. The presence of God’s perfect Son transforms us from shameful to glorious.
Moses’s face was made radiant by standing in God’s presence on Mount Sinai. God prepared him, saying, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear when I speak with you and will always believe you” (Exodus 19:9). But the children of Israel did not want to see that nonsense; they were scared and unable to look Moses straight in the face (2 Corinthians 3:7; Exodus 34:30). They needed Moses to cover up the traces of glory lingering around his wrinkled eyes because it made them uncomfortable—it reminded them of their own shame and underscored the huge chasm between their own sin and a perfect, holy God (Exodus 34:33). But Moses had been transformed, and he didn’t even “realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord” (v.29). This transformation is just a foreshadowing of the transformation we now experience through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory,
the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory.
In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison
because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was set aside was glorious,
what endures will be even more glorious (2 Corinthians 3:8–11).
The old covenant of the law is only a shadow of our new and finished covenant in Jesus Christ. The glory of His presence is even more gloriously available to us who live in His covenant.
Have you ever felt unable to discipline your children because of your own sin, worried that your own imperfection precludes you from upholding the rules in your own home? Have you ever felt ashamed to stand up for the truth of the gospel because you are ashamed of something you have done in the dark? The transforming power of Christ has set us free. We can leave our sin behind and walk forward with confidence in His presence. We are made free by His presence. Christ lifts the veil! Indeed, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
We are a free people. By all means, wear pants, but walk forward leaving your sin and shame at the foot of Christ’s cross. The presence of the Lord equips us to do His good work without shame and fear. When you walk in His presence, the shame the world tries to pin on you can’t damage you. Let your face shine with His glory.