The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 76 of 202
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The contrast between vailed Israel under the law and the unvailed believer under grace
is carried over into the opening words of II Cor. 4: concerning the ministry of Paul
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not, but
have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling
the Word of God deceitfully: but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to
every man's conscience in the sight of God" (II Cor. 4: 1, 2).
Here we have a parallel with the "great boldness of speech" which the apostle placed
in contrast with the vailing of the face of Moses, "And not as Moses" (II Cor. 3: 12, 13).
If we have in II Cor. 4: 1, 2 a parallel with the "great boldness of speech", where
have we in this chapter the parallel with the vail over the face of Moses and over the
hearts of Israel? All can see that we have it in verses 3-6. But once again the force of the
passage is vailed by the A.V. The words of the third verse, which read, "But if our
gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost", should be read as in the R.V., "If our gospel
be vailed". So far as Paul was concerned the gospel was preached without reserve. If
there was a vail over that gospel it was made by another, and the inference from the first
verse is that such would be largely the result of "handling the Word of God deceitfully".
Before we go further, we must draw attention to the very strong language used by the
apostle in describing the transient character of the old covenant and its glory. He says
that it is to be "done away" and "abolished" (3: 7, 11 and 13). That the language is
strong, the following passages testify:--
"Who hath ABOLISHED death" (II Tim. 1: 10).
"That the body of sin might be DESTROYED" (Rom. 6: 6).
"Make the promise of NONE EFFECT" (Gal. 3: 17).
Speaking of these two covenants in Hebrews he says:--
"For if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for
the second, for finding fault with them, He saith, etc." (Heb. 8: 7, 8).
"He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second" (Heb. 10: 9).
Referring to the backward drift of the Galatians from grace to law, from faith to
works, for spirit to flesh, and from liberty to bondage, Paul says:--
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye
back to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage"
(Gal. 4: 9).
These references we desire to bring to bear upon the words of II Cor. 4: 3, where,
instead of speaking of the unsaved by the words, "them that are lost", the apostle is
referring to the old covenant that had been abolished. In effect, he says that the god of
this age, by deceitful handling of the Word of God, had fabricated a vail out of truth that
belonged to a past dispensation, and had so bandaged the eyes of the people with the