Each Day in the Word, Tuesday, November 28, 2023

2 Corinthians 3:1-9 NKJV

3 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

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, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.

In this passage, St. Paul delves into a profound message about the transformation of our lives through Christ.

In verses 1-3, Paul begins by addressing the question of commendation. He contrasts the idea of relying on written letters of recommendation with the transformed lives of the Corinthians. Thus, we recognize the significance of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It is not through human effort or achievements but through the transforming power of God’s Spirit that our lives become testimonies of Christ. We are, in a sense, living epistles, bearing witness to the gospel through our words and actions.

Paul emphasizes, in verses 4-6, that our trust and sufficiency come through Christ and from God alone. Thus, we hold dear the principles of the Reformation, which emphasize salvation by grace through faith. We understand that our sufficiency and righteousness come from Christ and are received by faith alone. It is the Spirit who breathes life into our faith, making us new creations in Christ.

In verses 7-9, Paul draws a striking parallel between the ministry of the Old Covenant, symbolized by the tablets of stone and the glory on Moses’ face, and the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit. While the Old Covenant was glorious, the New Covenant ministry of righteousness in Christ surpasses it in glory. Thus, we appreciate the distinction between law and gospel, recognizing that the law condemns, while the gospel brings righteousness and life. The glory of the New Covenant in Christ outshines the glory of the Old Covenant.

In conclusion, we take to heart the message of these verses. We are living epistles, our lives a testimony to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit and the sufficiency found in Christ. The New Covenant ministry of the Spirit brings righteousness and life, far surpassing the glory of the Old Covenant.

Let us pray: O Lord, forgive the offenses of your people, that by your goodness we may be delivered from the bonds of sin which we have brought on ourselves because of our weakness; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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