2 Corinthians 3:14 (NIV)
14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
On verse 14: The old covenant was all about "If we obey God fully, then God will bless us fully". But since none of us has obeyed God fully, God's presence and full blessing are always out of our reach. In this way, the old covenant "brought death" (v7) and condemnation (v9) because it showed us how far away we are from God.
To this day, many people -- both religious and non-religious -- continue to live and think in an old covenant way. It's when we think that we can earn our way to heaven. People who think in old covenant ways have yet to understand that we cannot reach God on our own. That's why Paul says, "But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away." (v14)
The only antidote to old covenant thinking is faith in Jesus Christ. It's realizing that Jesus Christ has done on our behalf what we could never do on our own. Praise God for sending Jesus Christ, who obeyed God fully on our behalf, and who on the cross for our sins. Through Jesus and his death on the cross, God established a new covenant with us, one where we could have full access to God's presence and His blessings, not because of our performance, but because of God's mercy and grace toward us.
2 Corinthians 3:7-8 (NIV)
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
On verses 7-11: What is Paul talking about in verse 7? Paul is recalling an incident from Exodus 34:29-35, how when Moses was carrying two stone tablets containing God's ten commandments to the people, Moses' face radiated with God's glory, so much so that the people were afraid and asked him to cover his face with a veil.
Paul recalls this incident as a way to say that the old covenant, represented by Moses and the 10 commandments, was glorious even though it was temporary (v7, 11), performance-based, and brought death (v7) and condemnation (v9) to people. How was the old covenant glorious? It showed us how holy God is, how high God's standards are, how sinful we are, and it prepared the way for the new covenant that Jesus would later establish. But if this imperfect, performance-based old covenant was glorious, how much more glorious is the life-giving, Holy Spirit-bestowing, love-based new covenant that Jesus established.
Thank You, God, for establishing a new covenant with us, one where we don't need to try to earn your love, acceptance and forgiveness; instead we can receive these as gifts which Your Son Jesus won on the cross for us. May we never get caught in old testament thinking; rather, may we live and see You with unveiled faces, reflecting Your glory more and more to this world around us.