Which is “that which fades away?” The earthly manifestations of God’s rule: most notably, the nation Israel with its temple and related services.
Which is “that which remains?” The kingdom of God: faith, hope, love (1 Corinthians 13:13, and note verse 10 of that chapter as well). Or, as Paul put it in Romans 14:17, “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
In 2 Corinthians 3:11 Paul is asking his readers to consider which has greater glory: that which is visible or that which is invisible? The answer, of course, is that which is invisible. For righteousness, truth, mercy, faith, hope, and love are all invisible qualities. All the earthly glory we see in the Old Testament (e.g. Solomon’s temple and riches) were but a foreshadowing of the true riches – which are invisible – that come to us through Christ.
These invisible qualities are like the wind: you do not see them, but you see the effect they have. That is, you do not see the wind but you do see the leaves rustling on the branches. Likewise, you do not see the motivations of Christ, but you do see the life He lived and the people He helped.
Christ had no earthly glory to commend Him. His glory was far greater than that. His glory was in the truth He spoke, the kindness He showed, and the forgiveness He embodied.
Truly, that which remains has far greater glory than that which fades away. Let that greater glory abide in you (Haggai 2:9).
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.