The way you live is a recommendation to others. What path are you recommending?
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2 Corinthians 3 (ESV)
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?
Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation,
written on our hearts,
to be known and read by all.
3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us,
not with ink
but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone
but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us,
but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant,
not of the letter but of the Spirit.
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death,
carved in letters on stone,
came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face
because of its glory,
which was being brought to an end,
8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
9 For if there was glory
in the ministry of condemnation,
the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
10 Indeed, in this case,
what once had glory
has come to have no glory at all,
because of the glory that surpasses it.
if what was being brought to an end came with glory,
much more will what is permanent have glory.
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,
13 not like Moses,
who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.
14 But their minds were hardened.
For to this day, when they read the old covenant,
that same veil
because only through Christ is it taken away.
15 Yes, to this day
whenever Moses is read
a veil lies over their hearts.
16 But when one 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 we all,
with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed
into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from
who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3 Summary
There are two paths that lie before you.
The first path points you to yourself, albeit in two very different ways. Most people in this world seek to consume their way to happiness by doing whatever it is that their heart desires, even though, as we learned in Ecclesiastes, this pursuit is a meaningless chasing after the wind.
Others on this same inward focused path have a more noble pursuit of channeling an inner strength focused upon keeping a list of rules & regulations in an attempt to prove their worth to God, but as today's chapter points out, not even Moses himself could sustain this fading glory.
Both of these self reliant paths are described as ministries of death (v7).
But as a Christian, you are on a very different path, which Paul describes as the ministry of the Spirit (v8), which leads to a permanent glory (v11). He goes on to remind you that since you have such a hope, you can live boldly (v12).
It's this second path, the ministry of the Spirit, that will lead you to true fulfilment and shalom, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (v17).
What makes for an attractive church? Shiny, well laid our facilities, friendly people sipping artisan coffee fellowshipping after services, and lots of activities & programs for all ages certainly make a church seem attractive.
But Paul here reminds us that the most attractive attribute a church has doesn't have anything to do with buildings or activities, but rather is seen in members who have transformed lives.
The Corinthians were confused as to who they should follow, so Paul tells them to look at each other - people transformed by the power of the Spirit through their participation in the church - as his letter of recommendation (v2-3).
Pray that your life is an attractive letter of recommendation for your church.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our God and heavenly Father whose very presence literally lights up the faces of those He visits (v7)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be a letter from Christ (v3) testifying to the transforming work of the Spirit in your life
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: