Read (2 Cor 3:1-5)
Introduction by commendation letter was a common practice in the New Testament churches (Acts 18:27). Paul does not need a letter of recommendation in order to prove his apostleship (2 Cor 3:1). The transformed lives of Corinthians are the proof that Paul’s ministry is from God (2 Cor 3:2-3). They are the letter known and read by all. This letter was written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Here Paul contrasts the external ministry of law with the internal ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Law of Moses was not evil, it is holy, just and good (Rom 7:12). But it could not give us power to obey the law. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24). Christ is the end of the law because he has accomplished the whole purpose of the law (Rom 10:4). People look for outside behavior but the gospel transforms life from inside out (Rom 7:25). We cannot earn God’s approval on the basis of outward performance but by faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit gives a new desire that leads to genuine and visible change in behavior. Paul’s ministry was authenticated by the very existence of the Corinthian church (2 Cor 9:1-2). The internal transformation of heart is more important than our external behavior. Paul was not ashamed to acknowledges his inadequacy and says it is God who works at Corinth. Without Christ, we can do anything of lasting value (John 15:5). Our sufficiency comes from God (2 Cor 3:5). God is the one who gives power and success in the ministry. We cannot earn God's favor on the basis of outward performance. Pray that God would transform your heart inside out. Pray that the Holy spirit would help us to grow spiritually.
The Glory of the New Covenant
Read (2 Cor 3:6-15)
Paul contrasts the new covenant with the old covenant. Paul was a minister of the new covenant (3:6). The old covenant was written on the tablets of stone but the new covenant is written on human heart by the Holy Spirit. The old covenant was glorious that it caused the face of Moses to shine (Ex 34:29-35). The people could not even look at his face (Ex 34:33). But his glory was fading so that Moses had to cover his face to conceal the end of it. This shows the inadequacy of the old covenant. The best the old covenant could do was condemn the sinner (Rom 7: 21-24). Jews cannot see the glory of the new covenant because they are blinded. This caused great concern and anxiety to Paul (Rom 9:1-4). Only the gospel of grace exposes the truth to see the glory of Christ (Luke 24:25). The new covenant surpasses the old covenant because it makes us right with God. The new covenant is a better covenant because it is permanent and gives us full and unlimited access to God (2 Cor 3:18; Heb 10:12). Also it gives us confidence to enjoy free and unlimited fellowship with God (2 Cor 3:12). It also gives us hope.
Transformed Into the Image of Christ
Read (2 Cor 3:16-18)
The believers have unlimited access to the very presence of God. Heaven declares the glory of God (Psalms 19:1). The scripture defines glory as the moral character of God (Ex 20:1-17; 33:19-20). God promised to reveal his glory (Isaiah 40:5). This glory was revealed in the person of Christ (John 1:14). As we gaze on the glory on the face of Christ, we are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18). Christ is the hope of glory. As the Holy Spirit works within us, we become more and more like Christ and reflect his glory (Heb 2:10). Though we will not reach perfection in this life, there is an anticipation of it when Christ returns (1 John 3:2). As Moses' face reflected God’s glory, the believers now increasingly reflect the glory of Christ. Under the old covenant, Moses’ glory faded away but under new covenant the believers become more and more like Christ (1 John 3:2). This transformation takes place by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer. The believer's greatest privilege is to live in the presence of God to behold the beauty of the Lord (Psalms 27:4). From start to finish the believers is being transformed by God’s glory. Those who spend time in God’s presence will never be the same.