From Stone to Spirit

2 Corinthians 3-4:1-4 (NASB)
"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for 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. And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 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. But if the ministry of death, engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

The apostle Paul in this second letter to the Church at Corinth tells us that God has given us a new kind of relationship. One not based on tablets of stone, but on something that can change one's heart. Some Christians say we must continue to look to the law to remind us of our sinfulness and to know what sin is and what it is not. But it seems according to this Scriptural passage that the focus must not be on the law, for it says the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. While "the ministry of death, engraved on stones" (the Ten Commandments) came with glory, it faded in favor of the "ministry of the Spirit" which came with greater glory. The Old Covenant law that was given in a spectacular manner to Israel by God at Sinai cannot produce change in a person's heart, but the inner working of the Holy Spirit can and does produce change. There is no law that can change the heart so that it may bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). This passage further warns that those who continue to look to the law whose glory has faded away, instead of looking to Christ who is the Spirit, have a "veil" over their heart. They are unable to see the light of the Gospel of Christ, and fail to experience its liberating and life-transforming nature. As Christians, we are to look to Christ and not to Moses. We are to allow the ministry of the Holy Spirit to take hold in our lives. Only by gazing on the glory of Jesus Christ, and not the law, are we changed into His likeness by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. For we are changed according to what we focus on.

If we continually look to the law for guidance instead of Christ, then true successful Christian living cannot occur. In fact, one in such a position runs the risk of consciously or unconsciously seeking salvation by keeping the law, thus separating oneself from Christ and falling from of the grace of God (Galatians 5:4). But if we continually look to Christ and live according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can experience true inner change, joy, and peace. Essentially, we can experience a victorious walk with Christ.

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