In verse 6 the apostle observed the difference between the old covenant and the new, and the excellency of the gospel over the law. The law is a killing letter; the gospel is a quickening Spirit. In the following verses he reveals other ways in which they differ and further shows the glory of the gospel of Christ above the law of Moses.(Vs. 7- 9.)
1. The Old Testament dispensation was "the ministration of death". It discovered and revealed sin; it showed the wrath and curse of God; it showed man his duty, but gave no strength to perform it. The New Testament is the ministration of the Spirit and life in the gospel of Christ, which reveals Christ as our righteousness and which reveals the grace and mercy of God through Christ unto life everlasting. The law shows God above us and against us; the gospel reveals Emmanuel, "God with us."
2. The law was written and "engraved on tables of stone", whereas the gospel is written on the heart (Heb. 10:15, 16).
3. The law and the giving of the law were "glorious" (Exod. 20:18-21; 34:29, 30). Much of the glory and majesty of God attended the giving of the law - the glory of his presence, justice and holiness. But the gospel reveals the greater glory of God - the glory of his grace and mercy and the glory of his beloved Son in substitution and satisfaction for guilty sinners (Exod. 33:18,19). This gospel is ministered by his Holy Spirit.
4. The law is "the ministration of condemnation" only, for it cannot forgive, cleanse, nor offer any hope. Now if this be glorious, think how glorious is the gospel of Christ, which provides a perfect righteousness and right standing before God and produces love and obedience to God (Gal. 3:13, 14; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Cor. 1:30).
(Vs. 10.) In view of this fact, the glory of the law and the glory shown in the face of Moses have come to have no glory and splendour at all because of the overwhelming glory of the gospel of God revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:5, 6).
(Vs. 11.) If the law of Moses (fulfilled in and by Christ), which was but temporary and has been done away, was glorious, how much more glorious is the covenant of grace and righteousness in Christ, which abides for ever! (Heb. 10:9-14.)
(Vs. 12.) The word "hope" here is more than a wish or a good prospect. It is a confident expectation based on the sure Word of God and the person and work of Christ. The meaning of the verse is "Since we have a certain and confident expectation of acceptance by God in Christ, of everlasting righteousness and of eternal glory which can never pass away, we are neither ashamed nor afraid to preach this gospel to all men."
(Vs. 13.) We preach the gospel of the glory of God (l Tim. 1:11) freely, openly and boldly and not like Moses, who put a veil over his face, not so the people could not look, but because they could not bear to look upon even the reflected glory of God (Exod. 34:30-35). And because of their unbelief and hardness of heart, they could not see the end or goal of that law, who is Christ (Rom. 10:1-4).
(Vs. 14, 15.) Moses' covering of his face with a veil signifies the righteousness of God in Christ, which is hid from generations because of unbelief and hardness of heart (Col. 1:26, 27; Rom. 11:7, 8). To this day that same veil remains, and they do not see the glory of the gospel nor Christ, the end of the law. They read the Old Testament Scriptures but cannot see Jesus Christ in them (Acts 10:43; Luke 24:27,44-46). This veil can only be removed through the light of the gospel of Christ shining in the heart. When a person sees Christ by faith, he sees the unveiled glory of God (John 14:9).
(Vs. 16.) Nevertheless, when a person (Jew or Gentile, one person or a nation such as Israel) shall turn from unbelief, idolatry and salvation by the works of the law to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance and faith, that veil of blindness shall be removed. Some understand this of the whole of the Jews in a future day (Rom. 11:25, 26), and it may be, but all men are spiritually blind who have not seen the glory of God in Christ. When we see the Son in his redemptive power and work, we see the fulfilment of the law, satisfaction of God's justice and the glory of God!
(Vs. 17.) The Lord to whom we turn when the veil is taken away is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the man Christ Jesus, but not only a mere man; he is that Spirit or he is God (John 4:24). He is the Spirit of grace, peace and life. He is the giver and the gift of the Spirit, and where he lives and dwells, there is liberty - emancipation from the bondage of the law, the curse of the law and the penalty of the law. "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."
(Vs. 18.) The Israelites saw the glory of God in a cloud, in the tabernacle and in the types and shadows, but all believers with unveiled and open faces behold the glory of God with eyes of faith in the face of Christ Jesus. Not that we look upon the full majestic glory of God himself, for no man could do this and live (Exod. 33:20). But we behold his glory as in a mirror (I Cor. 13:12), and by looking to him in faith, we grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. From one degree of grace and faith to another, we are changed, and the image of Christ is formed in the believer. This comes by the Spirit and power God.