Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as do
some, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
You are our letter of recommendation,
written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.
You reveal that you are a letter
of the Messiah, delivered by us, written not with ink but with the spirit of the
living God; not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts.
This confidence we have through the Messiah before God.
It is not that we
are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but
our competence is from God.
He made us competent to be servants of a
new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit, because the letter kills, but
the spirit gives life.
7 The ministry of death, written in letters carved on stone tablets, came with
glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, even though that glory was fading. 8 Since that was
so, will not the ministry of the spirit have even more glory? 9 For if the ministry of
condemnation had glory, the ministry of making people right has much more
10 For certainly what once had glory
now has no glory at all, because of the glory which surpasses it. 11 For if the one which was fading
away had glory, the one which continues has much more glory.
12 So then, since we have such a hope, we speak very boldly. 13 We are
not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the children of
Israel would not look intently at the end of the glory which was fading away.
14 But their
minds were closed, and even today when they hear the reading of the Old
Covenant, the same veil remains. Only in Messiah is it taken away.
15 Yet to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds.
16 But when a
person turns to the lord,
the veil is removed.
17 Now the lord is the spirit,
and where the spirit of the lord is, there is freedom.
18 And all of us, with
our faces unveiled, reflecting like mirrors the glory of the lord, are being
transformed into the same image, from glory to more glory. This comes from the
lord, the spirit.
The change from the Old Covenant Torah in the letter to the spiritual New Covenant in
Messiah was such a huge revolution in thinking that it took whole books to detail it. Romans, Galatians
and Hebrews are largely concerned with this subject which to this day still causes difficulty due to
Bible readers’ frail understanding and preoccupation with unnecessary or misleading tradition. Gal.
3:19-29 provide an exact explanation.
In the time of Moses and under the Law of Moses.
“Accepting the lord,” or “accepting Jesus as Savior” is pointless and deceptive apart from the
acceptance of his Gospel and teaching. “Why do you call me ‘lord, lord,’ and do not do the things I
say?” (Lk. 6:46).
The presence of Jesus in spirit is equated with the holy spirit (also v. 18). This is the spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7) and Jesus is also equated with the paraclete, comforter, in 1 John 2:1. There is no
third Person in the NT. Even in 325 AD there was no official definition of the spirit, and thus no fully