2Corinthians 3:1-6 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as you 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. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.
‘Need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you’ – are we so destitute of divine abilities as to need letters of commendation from other congregations? You are our epistle written on our hearts so that we speak of your gifts and graces in all places (3:2).
‘The epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.’ You are not only our epistle (3:2), but the epistle of Christ ministered by us through the Holy Spirit. Through their personal examples l
‘And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward’ – We have faith in you through Christ that you are the work of God and that our ability to win you to Christ is of God (3:4-5).
‘New testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.’ The Old Covenant contrasts the New Covenant as follows: it is called the Old Testament (3:14) and the first covenant (Heb. 8:7; 9:1); it came by Moses (John 1:17) and is thus called the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39), the law of works (Rom. 3:26-31) that works wrath (Rom. 4:15); the law of sin (Rom. 7:23; 8:2) the law of the flesh (Rom. 7:5-6); not of faith (Gal. 3:12); was the yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1); ended by Christ (Rom. 10:4); it brought death (3:7); it made guilty (3:9) it was a shadow (Col. 2:14-17); it is fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-18); it demanded righteousness (Luke 10:28); made nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19) while it was glorious (3:7) it was powerless to save (Heb. 9:9; 10:4); many animal sacrifices where needed (Heb. 9:12-13); ratified by animal blood (Heb. 9:16-22); it was a sinful ministry (Heb. 5:1-4); had temporary priests (Heb. 7:23); the Aaronic priesthood and was of Levi (Heb. 7:11); yearly atonement that remembered sins (Heb. 10:3); had an earthly tabernacle (Heb. 9:2); a sinful mediator (Gal. 3:19); offered no inheritance (Rom. 4:13); it could not redeem (Heb. 10:4) nor satisfied (Isa. 1:13-14); it had no miracle power (Heb. 7:18) and its abolishment was predicted (Hos. 2:11). The New Covenant however that was also known as the second covenant (Heb. 8:7; 10:1-9); and the New Testament (3:6); came by Christ (Heb. 8:6; 9:15) and was started by Christ (Heb. 8:6; 10:9). It was thus also called the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), the law of righteousness (Rom. 9:31), the law of the Spirit (Rom. 8:2), the law of faith (Rom. 3:27), the law of liberty (Jas. 1:25), and the law of grace (John 1:17) that saves from wrath (Rom. 5:9) and redeems (Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12-15). It brought life (Rom. 8:2; Gal. 3:1-29) and was the reality (Heb. 10:1-18); it makes free (Gal. 5:1; John 8:1-59), and is now in force (Heb. 8:6; 10:9). It gives righteousness (John 1:17; 3:16), makes perfect (Heb. 7:19), it is more glorious (2Cor. 3:8-10). Saves to uttermost (Heb. 7:25), had one human sacrifice (Heb. 9:14-28; 10:12), that was ratified by the blood of Christ (Matt. 26:28) and forgets sins (Heb. 8:12; 10:17). It has an eternal priest through the tribe of Judah (Heb. 7:14, 17), from the order of Melchisedek (Heb. 5:5-10; 7:21) with eternal atonement (Heb. 10:14) and it is a sinless ministry (Heb. 7:26). It has a heavenly tabernacle (Heb. 8:2) a sinless mediator (1Tim. 2:5), offers an eternal inheritance (Heb.9:15). It does satisfy God (Heb. 10:15-18) had miracle power (Gal. 3:1-5; John 14:12) and its establishment was predicted (Heb. 8:7).