What was it like in the Garden of Eden? Unbroken, unrivalled fellowship with God – naked and no shame! I guess we will never really know this side of eternity. However good it was to walk in such innocence before the Lord God, it didn’t last long. Unable to keep the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin and death entered the world. Immediately they were covering up. Guilt, fear and shame covered their faces and all they wanted to do was hide from God.
Our face, created in the image of God to express open transparent fellowship with God, to radiate His glory back to Him, was now covered with guilt and shame. Instead of open honest fellowship with God, we now had a cover up job with deceit and lies (Genesis 3:8-11). Their faces became veiled with their own sin. That is the way it has been to this very day.
Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the 10 commandments in his hands. If only we could keep that Law we could find the way back to innocence and unveiled face. (After coming down from that mountain, having been in the presence of God, Moses face so radiated the glory of God, that the people were afraid, and for their sake he veiled his face). The truth is – not one of us can keep the Law and find our way back to God. We have all failed and fallen far short of the glory of God. The veil of guilt and shame remains over our faces. Some today even wear a literal veil over their faces. Like a cloud that blots out the sun, our veils blot out the glory of God. Where are the radiant faces today?
The apostle Paul talked about the unveiled face, in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 3:7-18). He talked about people’s minds being dull, because of the veil that was over them for reasons mentioned above. But the good news, he went on to say, was that in Christ that veil (of dullness, guilt, shame) is taken away. “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”.
When we turn to the Lord and ask His forgiveness for breaking His commands, He grants us forgiveness. The power of sin, with its guilt and shame and consequent fear (hiding from the Judge of all the earth) is broken. The veil is lifted – my face radiates glory - unbroken, transparent fellowship with my God. I’m no longer in hiding – my spirit is free. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which come from the Lord who is the Spirit”.
What a glorious thing it is, to live with unveiled face – in freedom, reflecting the glory of God.