2 Corinthians Chapter 3

Chapter 3: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Christ’s epistle

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for understanding as we opened up Your inspired Word for us today in 2 Corinthians. We pray for illumination and anointing of the Holy Spirit. We permit You to search our hearts and motives. We pray that You will create in us a pure heart, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-3, 1 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? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 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.

Paul asked two rhetorical questions. Paul used the plural pronouns, we, us, ourselves, our, to include his co-workers. Paul and his team did not require any letters of recommendation from his audience. The Corinthians Christians were letters of Christ written by the Holy Spirit onto their hearts of flesh and not on tablets of stone.

VV 4-6, 4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 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.

Greek for sufficiency is “hikanos”, which means worthiness. Our worthiness is from God and not from ourselves. God, through the Holy Spirit, made us worthy to be ministers of the new covenant. The Mosaic law brings condemnation but the Holy Spirit gives life.

VV 7-11, 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 asked 1 rhetorical question. The Mosaic law written on stone tablets resulted in death to those who broke it. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after meeting God, his face shone with the glory of God. When he came down to meet the Israelites, he covered his face with a veil because the glory of God was too strong for the people. Paul asked a rhetorical question saying that the glory of the Holy Spirit far exceeded the glory on Moses’ face.

VV 12-18, 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech, 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Moses veiled his face because the Israelites could not look at his fading glory. Until today, the veil had covered the hearts of most Israelites preventing them from understanding the revelation of Christ in the Old Testament.

God will remove this veil and free the Israelites from spiritual blindness when they believe in Christ. Christians who looked into the glory of Christ with unveiled faces will undergo transformation of hearts and renewal of minds to conform to the image of God. Romans 12:2, “And do not be conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of minds, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Application:

You are letters of Christ, not written onto ink and paper, but by the Holy Spirit onto your hearts. You carry the image and glory of Christ wherever you go. Non-Christians read your lives daily as if you are the living and walking Bible. When people see you, will they see the glory of Christ? Are you the living and walking Bible that non-Christians read?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for writing Your epistles into our hearts. Help us live our lives worthy of Your calling so that others may see the glory and image of Christ in us. Do not allow the world to squeeze us into its mould. Transform our hearts, renew our minds, and conform us into the image of Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.