Feb 20, 2022
At the beginning of 2 Corinthians 3, Paul presents a series of contrasts: stone and human hearts (vs. 3), the ministry of death and the ministry of the Spirit (vss. 7-8), the ministry of condemnation and the ministry of righteousness (vs. 9), that which is coming to an end and that which is permanent (vs. 11). If the former of each of these pairs, which is analogous to the old covenant, was glorious, how much more glorious shall the new covenant be? Moses had to ascend Mount Sinai to receive the law, but we have it hidden “within our hearts,” meditating on it, making it our “chief delight” (How Shall The Young Direct Their Way—Psalm 119). The law of Moses was written on stone tablets, while the law of righteousness is written on our hearts (My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness). Though the former law convicts us, we look to Jesus to find that “love will make obedience sweet” and that His commandments become our happy choice (Come Ye Souls, By Sin Afflicted). The Spirit fills us with life, enabling us to love what He loves and do what He would do—not merely following a set of rules but motivated by hearts that are being made pure (Breathe On Me, Breath Of God). The old covenant was so majestic that Moses had to hide his face from the people, because it shone so brightly (Exodus 34:33). But the new covenant is inaugurated by a Savior who has hushed that old law’s thunder and quenched Mount Sinai’s flame (Let Us Love And Sing And Wonder). Not even a thousand tongues would be sufficient to sing of such glory. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Spirit, Letter, Hearts, Sufficiency,
Righteousness, Condemnation, Glory
Keystone Verse: 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)
2 Corinthians 3:1-11
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 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.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 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.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.