Searchfortreasure's Blog

…a Bible student's notes…

chapter 3 in 2 Corinthians…..

Keeping in mind that this is actually Paul’s fourth letter to Corinth, notice how chapter 3 opens:  2Co 3:1 ¶ Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?

 Dealing with this church had been an exhausting experience for Paul.  And, as I read this chapter, I realize Paul still finds it necessary to defend God’s choice of him for his ministry to them.  In essence, he is saying that he is a qualified servant of a new life-giving covenant of spirit concerning glory and hope.  Read the whole chapter at one sitting:

1 ¶ Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?

2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for 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 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.

5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as [coming] from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

6 ¶ who also made us adequate [as] servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading [as] it was,

8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.

10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses [it.]

11 For if that which fades away [was] with glory, much more that which remains [is] in glory.

12 ¶ Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in [our] speech,

13 and [are] not as Moses, [who] used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;

16 but whenever a man 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 from the Lord, the Spirit.

(NASB)

Paul needs no letter of commendation from them.   God supplies his adequacy as a servant of a new, fresh covenant.  Then he compares four things:

  1. letters of commendation written with ink
  2. letters of the spirit of Christ written in human hearts
  3. new covenant letters given by the spirit of life
  4. condemnation letters written on tablet of stone

Under the tablets of stone, Paul changes the “letter” from one written with ink to a letter that kills, written on tablets of stone as a ministry of death – connected with Moses and the fading glory of that covenant.  That covenant had glory, but the new covenant has glory that surpasses it, written by the Spirit of God that gives life.  I’ll make a list for us of the descriptions of these two covenants:

THE OLD COVENANT:

  • WRITTEN ON TABLETS OF STONE
  • LETTER KILLS
  • MINISTRY OF DEATH (separation in the age to come)
  • FADES AWAY
  • MINISTRY OF CONDEMNATION
  • HAD GLORY
  • HAS UNLIFTED VEIL
  • MUST TURN TO THE LORD FOR VEIL TO BE LIFTED

THE NEW COVENANT (MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION IN CH. 5):

  • WRITTEN ON TABLETS OF HUMAN HEARTS
  • GIVES LIFE (life in the age to come)
  • GLORY DOES NO FADE AWAY
  • MINISTRY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • VEIL REMOVED IN CHRIST
  • VEIL TAKEN AWAY WHEN ONE TURNS TO CHRIST
  • SPIRIT OF THE LORD ADMINISTERS THIS COVENANT WITH LIBERTY

Paul calls all of this a “hope” (v.12) connected to the glory contained in this new, fresh covenant.  The hope makes him use great boldness  – “plainness of speech,” “outspokenness.”  In his summary statement in v. 18, we learn that the “unveiled ones” are being transformed into the Lord’s glory of this covenant.

Paul has no veil!  Christ has no veil!  The glory Paul had been administering in the Old Covenant of death was taken away on the road to Damascus when the God of Glory surpassed and overtook Paul’s former fading glory.  Now he abides in the sphere of Christ, hoping to continue the transformation into the same image of the glory of the Lord.

 2Co 3:18  And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. (AMP)

 

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April 27, 2010 - Posted by | How I Read in Context, Learning to read - accurately

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