Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of February 3, 2008


CONTRASTING GLORIES

 

God …made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  2 Corinthians 3:6

 

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:6-11, contrasts the glory of the ministry of the old covenant with the glory of the ministry of the new covenant.

 

Paul calls the ministry of the old covenant the ministry of the letter. This ministry teaches people—either saved or lost—to seek to be accepted by God by keeping the law. Paul calls the ministry of the new covenant the ministry of the Spirit. This ministry teaches believers the necessity of being filled the Holy Spirit and how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

There are two aspects to Paul’s contrast. One feature concerns the glory of each ministry. The other feature gives reasons for the contrast in glory.

 

The first aspect of the contrast of the two ministries is found in verses 7-11. In verses 7 and 8, Paul says that the glory of the ministry of the letter is fading away, while the glory of the ministry of the Spirit is excelling. In verses 9 and 10, Paul says the ministry of the letter has no glory when it is compared to the glory of the ministry of the Spirit.

 

Verse 11 tells us that the glory of the ministry of the first covenant is passing away. It no longer exists. The ministry of the Spirit remains and is much more magnificent than the glory of the ministry of the first covenant.

 

The second aspect of the contrast between the glories of the two ministries explains why the glory of the ministry of the Spirit is superior to the glory of the ministry of the letter. Verses 6 and 9 present this contrast.

 

The ministry of the letter kills—for the Christian, emotional death and for the lost person, eternal death. The Spirit gives life (verse 6). The ministry of the letter is condemnation—self-condemnation and condemnation from God. A believer who is filled with the Sprit receives righteousness (verse 9).

 

The shining glory of the ministry of the Spirit is in teaching believers the possibility and necessity of being filled with the Spirit—and how to be filled with the Spirit.