2 Corinthians 3
1. Are we starting to talk about ourselves again? Do we need letters of introduction to you or from you, like some other people?
In those days there were traveling prophets who brought letters to show that they were sent by some higher authority.
2. You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts. It is known and read by everyone.
Paul is saying that he does not need those kinds of letters because the changed lives of the Corinthians are like letters which he can show to anyone who questions him.
3. You show that you are a letter from Christ that He sent through us. This letter is not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets. It is written on human hearts.
Let your life be like a letter from God. People would rather see a sermon than hear one. When you see friends who are very close, you know that when you see one the other one must be somewhere near.
4 – 5
We can say this, because through Christ we feel sure before God. I do not mean that we are able to say that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do.
We need to be honest, there are times when we think we know something, and we speak it, and we think, “Good, that took care of that.” As we grow, we see that our words did not really do what we thought they did.
My Word… always produces fruit. It will complete all that I want it to, and it will have results everywhere that I send it. Isaiah 55:11
6. God made us able to be servants of a new agreement from Himself to His people. This new agreement is not a written law. It is of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
Some people use this verse to say that we do not need to live by the Bible because the written letter brings death, and so now we live by new prophecies and revelation.
How can we say that the Bible brings death when the book of Hebrews says the opposite? For the Word of God is alive and powerful. Hebrews 4:12
The letter that kills is the letter of the Old Testament law. What if we went to court and a very serious judge asked us if we have ever broken any law?
What if we told him that one time we did something against the law but it was only a very small thing? The judge would say, “If you have broken any law you are a lawbreaker!”
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. James 2:10
7 – 8
The law that brought death was written in words on stone. It came with God’s glory. Moses’ face was so bright with glory that the people of Israel could not continue to look at his face. And that glory later disappeared. So surely the new way that brings the Spirit has even more glory.
Him when Moses came down from the mountain. His face was shining because of the presence of God. The people could see the glow of the presence of God as Moses taught them. When we have been with the Lord we bring the glory of the Lord with us wherever we go. See Exodus 34:29 – 35.
9 – 11
That law judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the new way that makes people right with God has much greater glory.
That old law had glory. But it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of this new way. If that law which disappeared came with glory, then this new way which continues forever has much greater glory.
The Old Testament law was based on men being faithful so that they could learn how to be in fellowship with God. The New Testament is not based on what men do, but on what Jesus did on the cross. So this new way as much greater glory.
We have this hope, so we are very brave. We are not like Moses. He put a covering over his face so that the people of Israel would not see his face. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to [keep looking at something that was going to stop].
Moses was showing the people that they should not keep looking only at the law that he was teaching, but that they could know God in the same way that Moses met with Him on the mountain.
14. But their minds were closed. Even today that same covering hides the meaning when they read the old agreement. That covering is taken away only through Christ.
The Jews do not even understand what they are reading when they read the Old Testament. Pray that God will open their eyes.
Blindness in part has happened to Israel. Romans 11:25
15. But even today, when they read the law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds.
When you are wearing a veil you cannot see clearly. Today Jews have no temple and no animal sacrifice. They now think that if they do more good than bad, then God will accept them.
They are even blind to the fact that God has always said that forgiveness of sin requires a blood sacrifice. They have no temple for sacrifice, and they do not understand the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:22
16. But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away.
Spiritual blindness can be healed when people read or hear the word of God.
17. The Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Some churches say that this means there is freedom to run up and down the aisles and disturb the church during a Bible message. 1 Corinthians 14:32 shows us that there is self–control in the use of the gifts. Freedom comes from forgiveness of sins. John 8:32
18. Our faces, then, are not covered. We all see the Lord’s glory as in a mirror, and we are being changed to be like Him. This change in us brings more and more glory. And it comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
You become what you spend time looking at. Every time we learn something new in the Bible, and every time we stop living for ourselves, we grow from one glory to the next glory. It is interesting to think of all of us looking in a mirror together and seeing the glory of the Lord resting on each one of us because our lives have been changed.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. Psalm 17:15