7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
ministry (v.7) = service with a willing (voluntary) attitude, lit. “waiting at a table”
glory (v.7) = honor, renown, splendor, the unspoken manifestation of God.
exceeds (v.9) = abounds, overflows, exceeds the ordinary
passing away (v.11) = made idle, made of no effect, abolished
The ministry announcing death, i.e., “the Letter,” that is, the Law, came with glory—a glory so great that man could not look upon it, for it judged him, making him conscious that he was a sinner—but the ministry announcing life has so much more excellent a glory that it eclipses the glory of the former. The Law demanded righteousness; the Gospel provides righteousness. The Law bartered righteousness for obedience, and as that obedience was impossible to man, it was unobtainable by him; hence his condemnation to death. The Gospel provides man with a spotless righteousness as a free gift; hence the Gospel ministry of life. Man being guilty, his greatest need is righteousness. So the one was the ministration of condemnation; the other, the ministration of righteousness. Both were “with glory,” for they both express God’s moral glory demonstrated in judgment and in grace. Both demonstrations were Divinely necessary to the manifestation of that glory. — Williams, page 899.