“The Letter Kills; The Spirit Transforms” (2 Corinthians 3: 6, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul and Timothy write that they are commended not by themselves but by the Corinthian church body, each member being their “letter of recommendation, written on [Paul and Timothy’s] hearts, to be known and read by all.” (2 Corinthians 3: 2) They are not boasting; the “confidence that [they] have is through Christ toward God.” (2 Corinthians 3: 4) Paul and Timothy recognize that they “are not sufficient in [themselves] to claim anything as coming from [themselves].” (2 Corinthians 2: 5) They know that “[their] sufficiency is from God.”

“God has made [them] competent to be ministers.”

And of what ministry are Paul and Timothy? Theirs is the ministry of the new covenant in which God places His Spirit within His people, writing His will upon our hearts. Paul and Timothy are not of the “ministry of condemnation, and death” but of the “ministry of righteousness, and life.”

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

“Only through Christ, is [the veil] taken away. When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3: 14, 16)

Peter writes, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” (1 Peter 2: 16 – 17)

And Paul reminds, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5: 1)

“Now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Galatians 4: 9)

Paul tells us that the ministry of condemnation and death has been “brought to an end;” there is then no rationale for going back under the yoke of the letter of the law, for “the letter kills.” We are free in Christ. “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 form the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

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