2 Corinthians 3
-Chapter 3 can be summed up “finding the glory of the Spirit of the LORD in the New Covenant through Christ Jesus.” Paul begins with rhetorical questions on commendation to which, by verse two, Paul says that the Corinthian believers were the “letter of recommendation” written in the apostles’ hearts. These “letters” (the believers) were known and read by all men. *Application* We are a letter sent out into the world by God Himself. Live sent!
-Paul is telling the Corinthians they are manifested as a letter of Christ Jesus, cared for and growing with equipping from the apostles not with ink or stone (the Old Covenant), but with the Spirit of the Living God in the human heart of faith. Christ is our confidence with respect towards God (2 Corinthians 3:4). Verse five goes on to relate that since our sufficiency is not in ourselves (it is from God, He is the source), we have done nothing to merit adequacy on our own. It is God through His Spirit and the work of Jesus Christ that has made us ample as servants of a New Covenant of the Spirit, which gives life unveiled! *Application* The Spirit filled life is a work of God alone and we must realize this. A puffed up and arrogant attitude of righteous superiority can easily come into play when we feel we are doing well. But be careful, our adequacy is from the Lord and in His strength. Don’t go it alone or you will be left striving in your own strength and find yourself struggling, tired, and worn out. It is all IN Christ!
-The writer presents a contrast now between the letter (referring to the Law of the Torah, the Old Covenant), which has the ministry of death and kills with its potency, and the Spirit (the New Covenant purchased in Christ’s blood, Luke 22:20), which brings life and indwells the believer for power and glory in the Lord. Paul says both the letter and the Spirit come with glory, but the letter (the ministry of condemnation) was fading; whereas the glory of the Spirit (the ministry of righteousness) was abounding more and more, from glory to glory. This, Paul rightly concludes, means that what had glory (the Law, the letter) is now surpassed by the glory of the New Covenant in the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Spirit’s glory remains whereas the glory of the letter faded. The result in verse twelve is that because of this hope within us of the Spirit we have great boldness in our attitudes, words, and life. We need no veil, like Moses did, because we will never fade or grow dim. Paul says that there is still (which goes to even our current era) a veil over the hardened Hebrews because Christ is the only One who can remove this veil, or covering over. He is the One who brings light and understanding of the Lord’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). “The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (liberty, unveiling, no more bondage to sin) (2 Corinthians 3:17).” *Application* We, as New Covenant believers, have the unveiling, and we are beholding the true glory of the Lord as we are transformed into His image from glory (letter, the pointing to) to glory (the Spirit, life eternal) through the work of Christ Jesus on the cross of Calvary (the construction of the phrase would be translated literally “from glory into glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:18). Live life fully (John 10:10)! Remember that with great freedom comes great responsibility. God holds us accountable to live in His power and do His great and mighty deeds as we live by His Spirit in newness of life. Any less will grieve and quench His Spirit and Its operation in your life. Be bold in your faith!
Verses to Memorize- 2 Corinthians 3:5, 16-18