2 Corinthians 3 (ESV)
3 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[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from 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.[b]
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. 11 For 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 remains unlifted, 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[c] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord[d] 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,[e]are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I have been in a season of heavy personal conviction. I believe it has had some value in that it has brought the many logs in my own eye into greater view which I feel is important in every Christian’s walk. Not until we recognize the true depth of hardness of our own hearts, the fall of man, the darkness in our soul that fights the truth of Christ, will we ever truly enter the journey of redemption; this is the journey of sanctification.
It is a time of inward condemnation when one truly aches for the death of the old man so that we can rise again in our new life in Christ; to have the courage to face our pride, fear, judgments, addictions, hypocrisy; to take ownerships of the hurts we have caused and becoming willing to make amends for them all; to seek for the destruction of all forms of selfishness that rules the heart of the saved and unsaved alike is to be born again.
But this season comes with a grave warning, and because I did not know that going in I spent many months wollowing in self condemnation on a level that did not come from Christ. It has been a dark season, but I’m beginning to see the light, and it is a glorious light indeed.
I believe this passage clearly spells out the battle I’ve been facing; a realization that the Laws of God are good and important in that the Old Covenant reveals our need for salvation and life change on a soul-wrenching level (if we are honest with ouselves) but the Great News is that the New Covenenant of Christ sets us free from the law.
The law leads to death in the flesh, but Christ leads to life in the Spirit.
What helped bring this home in my heart was what my pastor said this last weekend. It was a sermon on the four practices to guard our hearts; Submission, Service, Secrecy and Sacrifice .
In closing prayer his words leaped out at me
“Service to others is not how we become great, it is what great people do”
In that moment I began reflecting on Jesus’ very first trial by Satan which came the moment he was baptized. In the 40 days of suffering in the wilderness Satan and Jesus used the Word of God to battle one another; Satan tempting Jesus through pride and selfishness and using his knowledge of Christ to warrent it and Jesus rebuking Satan to not twist the Word of God to fit his own agenda.
In that moment I realized that the battle in my soul had become a battle between The Law of God and the freeing Salvation of Christ; a deep recognition filled me with the healing power of the cross.
It is not what we do for Christ that sets us free, it is what He has done for us. We will never measure up, be good enough, deserve favor… but we are granted those things through our belief and desires for purity and pursuit of holiness.
Not that we will attain it one day, but that we live like that because we’ve already attained it.
Father God, you know my heart, you know that I ask daily for you to search me and reveal to me my shortcomings and weakness so that I may surrender them to you. Today Lord I come to you filled only with a gratitude that you have indeed set me free and I am sorry that I have devalued the cross to the point of thinking I could work my way back into your graces. It was You who pursued me, opened my eyes to Your truths, fed life and hope back into my soul, and that is not by anything I have done or earned. Thank you Jesus for the work of the cross, for a life of sacrifice, service, humility and submission, all of those things you did not have to do, but that you freely chose to do for us, the fallen sinner created in your image but who will always come up way short. Thank You for bridging that gap to salvation so that we may live free from the law by recognizing that the law lives in us, and that only You have overcome, and only in You will we overcome. With praise and gratitude I pray that we all may sing freely Your name of grace to all we encounter this day and forevermore.