¶ Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others,
epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
.2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
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Our epistle You and I may be the only Bibles many will read. Compare
2 - Known and read "words akin in root, sound, and sense (so 2Co 1:13). "Ye are known to be my converts by general knowledge: then ye are known more particularly by your reflecting my doctrine in your Christian life." The handwriting is first "known," then the Epistle is "read" [GROTIUS] (2Co 4:2; 1Co 14:25). There is not so powerful a sermon in the world, as a consistent Christian life." (JFB)
And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
.6 ¶ Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious,
so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of
Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
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Ministration of death How was the law (ten commandments) a ministration
of death? If we look to the law for eternal life, we are in trouble because
it only condemns our sin. See on ro0205.
This, by the way, was death by the faulty old covenant ex1908.
The people promised without reliance on divine assistance and they shortly
broke that promise in a big way ex3221.
The new-covenant life available then was reliance in the blood of Christ
that they looked forward to through the system of sacrifices and the rock
which provided water. In a similar way, we look back to Christ who fulfills
the ceremonial hopes.
7 - Glory of his countenance See ex3429.
¶ Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
.17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
.18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
|18 - Beholding ... changed How wonderful! As we focus on Christ, we are changed. It's a growth process. On the other hand, if we fill our minds with most of what is offered on television, we develop an appetite for that.|