You are a letter of Christ
2 Corinthians 3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all people, 3 revealing yourselves, that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written 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 we have toward God through Christ. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones, came with glory so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness excel in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory in this case has no glory, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
12 Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not stare at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts; 16 but whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
In today’s text Paul writes of the church: You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all people, revealing yourselves, that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. We need to recognize what a great honor and privilege it is that Paul describes us as. We also though need to recognize the great responsibility it is to be what people will read concerning the gospel. More than what we say or write, people read what we do. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul says: If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
It is not just our actions of love and kindness though that people see as a representation of Christ and the gospel. Romans 12:9 says: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. People will also see how we act. In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” If we, by our actions, relax the commandments of God, either for ourselves or for others, we are least in the kingdom. If our righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, who spoke of the law but did not have love, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Our righteousness cannot exceed theirs by our own actions. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We have been given the righteousness of Christ. In the text, it says: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
From that place of transformation, into the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to be the letters of Christ to the world. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” In Matthew 28:18-20 He says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, that I have the honor and privilege of being Your representative to the world. May I also never forget the responsibility I have. By the transforming power of the Spirit, may I be a good and faithful ambassador. Amen.