10 Paul’s Commendation in, Confidence through, and Unwavering Commitment to Christ

2 Corinthians 3v1-18

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. 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 competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 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.
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
. (ESV)

Consider Paul’s:

  1. Profound Commendation in Christ
    a) To commend is the act of praising, recommending and expressing approval for someone’s creed, character and conduct. Our (preachers’) commendation does not come from people. People are not good at commendation since we miss things as we don’t understand fully. Do not seek commendation from the sons of Adam – Paul didn’t. Paul discusses how his commendation goes not come from people but comes from Christ
    b) Where does it not come from? It is not from self (Paul does not commend himself); from other people (Paul did not need a letter from the congregation) – also see 2nd Cor. 4:10.
    c) Paul’s commendation comes from Christ in the form of a spiritual love letter from the heart. They were his letter delivered from Christ, the testimony of the fallen sinner whom Christ by God’s Word saved (see Jer. 31v33). God is all about the heart.

  2. Confidence through Christ
    Sufficiency comes from God (v4). We are not sufficient in ourselves, but through Christ who strengthens us. Sufficiency for new covenant ministry and not the Law, but of the Spirit. We are called to speak the truth in love. This ministry of the Spirit has even more impact than that of the written code (Rom. 7v6). 

  3. Resolute Commitment to Christ
    a) He speaks of the veil where men’s hearts were hardened in the period of Malachi to Matthew – hearts reading the Old Covenant (see verse 15&16 and 2nd Cor. 4v3). The veil is removed for humble minds – only Christ can take away that veil. When we turn to the Lord the veil is removed. Only the incarnate Word of God removes the veil. Where the Spirit is there is freedom.
    b) Beholding the glory of the lord (see 2nd Cor. 4v6), which comes from the Spirit.
    c) The transformation to Christ-likeness from glory to glory.
    Do not despise the Law, because it draws us to Christ.