I can only begin to try to comprehend God’s holiness as I consider it pictured throughout the Old Testament in his dealings with man. Too many times it doesn’t even register what it means that God is so holy and perfect. Yet he demands absolute perfection in keeping with his character. As God gave the requirements of the Law as a covenant with his people, Moses descended from the mountain to deliver God’s covenant, and his face shone with glory. That old covenant is accurately described here as a ministry of death and of condemnation… but it was still characterized by glory. The Law points us to the immeasurable, unfathomable holiness of God, and our inability to ever measure up to his character and enter into his presence. But that glory was both temporary (verses 10-11) and concealed (verses 12-16).
Now we have opportunity to participate instead in a new covenant, where God’s holiness is consummated at the Cross by his perfect love and we, simply by trusting his grace, are clothed with both God’s holiness and God’s glory, one that is permanent (verse 11) and revealed (verses 14, 18), surpassing the glory of that old covenant. And to top off such unfathomable blessing, we have the awesome privilege of being used by God to reveal his covenant to everyone around us. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (verse 18). Equipped with the Holy Spirit (verse 4), confidence through Christ (verse 4), and sufficiency from God (verse 5), we are being changed into his image so that we can live out this truth and hope for others to know also.