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Paul's certificate of authenticity

2 Corinthians 3:1–3 ESV
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 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.
Does Paul need a letter of recommendation?
From you (Corinthian church)
To you
Corinthian believers are the "letter of recommendation"
What is a letter of recommendation?
"to be known and read by all"
For the whole world to see that the Believers are followers of Christ
Corinthian believers are a letter from Christ
Delivered by us
written with the Spirit
not with ink
written on human hearts
not on tablets of stone
Let's talk about this...
Paul directed his comments to the Corinthian believers
But, what about us? How can be a "letter of recommendation" to those around us?
What is the difference between the "aroma" at the end of ch 2 and the "letter"?

Paul's sufficiency to minister comes from God

2 Corinthians 3:4–6 ESV
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 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.
(we) are confident toward God
Sufficiency is from God - divine resources
Confidence thru Christ toward God
Paul understands he is *not* sufficient
God provides the sufficiency to be ministers - cf 1 Tim 1:12
of the new covenant
Letter vs Spirit
letter kills
Spirit gives life
New Covenant - maybe highlighting this implies the opponents were pushing following the Old Covenant?
- promised New Covenant for Israel

Contrast glory of old with glory of new

2 Corinthians 3:7–11 ESV
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, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
"ministry of death" - old covenant brought death because no one could meet requirements
letters on stone - tablets
- Read this in class
Although that shining was glorious, it will be replaced with ministry of the Spirit
The glory on Moses' face faded
The Old Covenant paled in comparison to the New Covenant
Old Covenant was temporary
New Covenant is permanent!

Veil (blindness) is removed by Christ to reveal the glory of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3:12–18 ESV
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 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. 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. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But 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. 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 from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Paul is bold due to the glory of the New Covenant
Moses was not bold
he put a veil over his face
to hide the outcome (fading, replacement) of the old
"hardened" - unwilling or unable to comprehend the replacement of the Old Covenant
Still happening to this day
Only thru Christ can the veil be taken away when one turns to the Lord
Freedom comes only thru Christ (the Spirit of the Lord)
Contrasted with Moses
We have unveiled faces
as we behold the glory of the Lord
Being transformed into His likeness
Christlikeness is the goal of the Christian walk (;23-24; )
The New is superior to the Old

Summary of 2 Corinthians 3

Believers are the aroma of Christ to everyone around us
Sufficiency for the Christian life comes only from Christ
Life under the Law was destined to be replaced by Life through Christ.
The ability to see new life and be transformed comes only through Christ
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