2 Corinthians 3
I’m not sure why Paul is starting this chapter with questions.
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts to be known and read by all.” (2 Corinthians 3:1-2)
But if I were guessing I would say that it could be these fickle Corinthians we have been reading about and Paul has been ministering to. They have accepted Christ, yet they want to stay in their old ways, they want to know Paul’s credentials, they believe what he says, they ask questions, yet are they living the life they were called to? Knowing them as we now know them they may have asked for a letter of recommendation. So Paul here is telling them, I don’t need a letter of recommendation that they themselves and the changes they have made are his letter of recommendation.
“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3)
Paul feels that the lives he has touched as well as the life he lives speak for themselves. He has spoken life to the Corinthians and tried to point them to living in the spirit and not from the letter of the law. Paul also knows and explains to them though that he knows that even though he is the one being used by God to speak into them that he would have no sufficiency in and of himself to do this on his own. That his sufficiency to speak life into them comes from God and that the life that they receive from his ministry comes from the Spirit. Paul wants them to realize, just like we have to realize that just living by the letter is not what brings life.
“who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
I love how Paul goes on to explain the glory of the ministry of the Spirit. He uses one of my favorite stories of Moses. When Moses spent time with God face to face and he would come down off the mountain to the presence of the Israelites, his face glowed so that the Israelites could not even look at him. He would have to cover his face with a veil to even be in their presence. Paul is saying that if the ministry of the letter of the law brought so much glory to Moses that the Israelites could not look at him, how much more glory should this ministry of the Spirit bring. We know that the law was fulfilled in Christ. Our lives are not supposed to be just wrapped up in the law, but in spending time with Christ, in letting the Spirit direct us and change us from the inside. The law brings death, condemnation, but Christ brings life!
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,” (2 Corinthians 3:12)
Paul’s boldness, and our boldness comes from the hope we have. Moses would have to put a veil over his face because of time spent with God, so that the Israelites could not gaze on what was fading. But the Israelites hung onto that and they still look through the veil. Christ took the veil away.
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
Turning to the Lord, removes the veil. Spending time with Him is what transforms us into His image. When you know someone who spends time with Him, it shows. Not that they have to use lofty words in their day to day life but there will be a glory that shows about them. Hopefully it is a glory that does not bring condemnation on people but that it is a glory that makes others want that they have. And that glory will only bring more glory “from one degree of glory to another”.
Lord Jesus may we spend time with you so that our faces will not be veiled but that they will behold Your glory!
Please pray for our country, our government officials, and especially the upcoming election.