3:7 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.
Paul is doing what Paul does best and if you don't know what he is talking about it sounds like a riddle. The reality is that it's very simple. In the Old Testament altars and sacrifices and later the temple and the priesthood all had glory attached to them. They had a level of sacredness. The Ark of the Testimony/Covenant was to be treated as holy yet none of it was. The sacrifices were to be understood as removing sin from the guilty but they didn't. They couldn't. They were just animals. All of it was symbolic. All of it was props in a type of living drama designed to point to something else.
What Paul is saying is that if the system of symbols was glorious how much more glorious is the reality? What makes more heat - the sun or a picture of the sun? What provides more flavour and nourishment - a plastic decorative apple or the real thing?
The answer is so obvious it begs the question as to why Paul is even wasting the time making the point? Here's why. The people were denying the work of the Spirit in their lives. They were treating Him as nothing. They were ignoring His counsel and guidance. Just as the Jews has turned the lesser glory of the temple into a moneymaking racket and a farce, so we're these baby Christians making a mockery of the work of the Spirit in the temple of their hearts and minds. He was calling them to forgive while they were healing endless guilt on a brother who was genuinely sorry for his sin.
Who are we, who am I to deny the leading of God's Spirit? Who am I to send the forgiven on endless guilt trips? If the cold stone of the written law held glory even before we knew the heart of the Lawgiver, how much more reverence is due Him? How should I treat others knowing they are a Temple of His Spirit? Talk about glory... They weren't permitted to even touch the mountain when God was giving the law to Moses. How dare I touch my brother in any way that is out of harmony with God while God is giving him His Spirit?
When you are dealing with the heart of another person, take off your shoes, you are on holy ground...