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The Letter vs. The Spirit

Continuing in 2Corinthians today.


In chapter 3, the first 5 verses, Paul writes about the Corinthian Christians "commending" themselves or another "commending" them. I would liken this to a letter of recommendation for a job, a scholarship, or some other position. However, the Christian we should not need a letter of recommendation. We should not have to convince anyone of our service to Christ, this reality should be manifest in our life - our walk and talk. Christ has set us free and we've been given a new heart, and we've been given the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit; therefore, we walk by the Spirit. This is, in part, the New Covenant!


Paul strongly renounces any thought of walking by the Law or by ritual as a means of salvation. This would be what is referred to in verse 6 as, "the Letter". The Letter of the Law brings about knowledge of sin, therefore, "the letter kills"! But, "the Spirit gives Life". Verse 7 refers to "the letter" as a ministry of death, and later in the chapter Paul refers to it as "the ministry of condemnation". It is not that the letter doesn't have Glory, it is God's Law, of course it has glory - but to those who have not kept the Law perfectly it is a "ministry of death and condemnation" - it kills!


How much greater is the "ministry of the Spirit", "the ministry of Righteousness"? This ministry far exceeds the ministry of condemnation because it defeats death, it redeems the law-breaker.


As you continue in the chapter, Paul speaks of an "aroma". There are 2 outcomes that come from the reading of the Law, "whenever Moses is read" is how Paul put it:


1) Minds are hardened. A veil "lies over a persons heart". A veil keeps a person from seeing clearly, or from seeing at all. In this case, the person is unable to see the Truth of the New Covenant.


2) Minds are changed, there is a turning to the Lord, the veil is lifted


The result of #2 is that all Christian's see the Glory of Christ because the veil is lifted; in addition, we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ. The transformation comes from Christ, through the Holy Spirit, who now dwells in the believer.



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