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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

June 9th, 2024: Bold Ministries- 2 Corinthians 3:5-8

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

(Deuteronomy 31:8)

Today’s lesson finds Paul writing to the church in Corinth. He is very familiar with this church and is aware of both the faithfulness and the problems that reside there. There are comparisons in this letter that Paul will reuse and elaborate on in all of his other letters. Comparisons between the ministrations of death and the ministrations of righteousness. between the ministrations of condemnation and the ministrations of the spirit. Watch for some strong words and bold statements.  Christians learn the power of boldness, steadfastness, and faithfulness through the writings of Paul.  This is a new covenant. There are many people then and now who need to hear these words. If Paul were to write us a letter today, it would sound a lot like the letters to the Corinthian church. We need not fear; however, the Lord goes before us and is with us to succeed. The church will prevail. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

It’s not because we are enough, it is because of Christ; He is enough. There should be no confusion. There is nothing that Jesus left undone. Nothing more needs to be added or taken away. It is critical that the christian believers stay within the simplicity that is Jesus and keep things in order. The church at Corinth had, in some areas, stepped away from the truth, and Paul had written a strong corrective letter to them in I Corinthians. They had been influenced by false religion and Judaizers (those who think the law of Moses needs to be mingled into the practices of this new church).  Some members of their congregation took grace to mean that they could sin without consequence, behaving worse than the lost who lived around them. 

Paul had in a previous letter (1st Corinthians) pointed out specific areas of concern that needed repentance and decisive action.  In this letter, he added some compliments regarding their handling of those issues.  In Paul’s boldness, he did not spare them the truth, and the church received his admonitions and made an obedient effort to correct their situation because their hearts’ desire was to obey the Lord. Christ is enough to save us, and we owe our lives and affections to him.  Not only can we not save ourselves, we cannot keep ourselves. He completes that work in us, also.

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.

What the law does is illuminate the truth. The letter of the law leaves no room for self-glory.  We are dead in trespasses and sins.  The spirit has another work. God has given us a Comforter, His presence, not for condemnation but for transformation.  Now that we are aware of our sinful condition before God, now that we’ve surrendered ourselves to the mercy of God, God is able to give us life, by changing us from the inside out.  Paul reminds them that Christ changes everything.  Notice this comparison. Moses was given the written law- letters on tablets of stone.  The same law that the nation of Israel carried with them through 1500 years of battles and kingdoms. The law points out the sinful, fleshly nature of man. Because we cannot keep the law perfectly, our punishment is death.  Jesus fulfilled the letter of the law. The new contract is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8: 1-5).

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: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

The law was perfect and glorious. It served the purpose of showing what was right and what was wrong. It prepared the way, causing those who desired God to look forward in faith to a Messiah to come. It set Israel apart from all other religions and nations. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life and died as the ultimate, once and for all, sacrifice.  He is the Lamb of God, who took our place in judgment and received our punishment. Since the sin sacrifice, portrayed in the law of Moses, has been made by the very Son of God, those who will call His name have access to a more glorious ministration of the Spirit.  No longer condemnation and death, we live now in freedom and everlasting life. 

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Glorious - I’ll say!  The glory of God on the shining face of Moses, after he spent time alone in the presence of God,  pales in comparison to the glorious church, filled with the Spirit, bearing the light of the world. We carry the gospel to all: Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, every race, every nation, whosoever!

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:(Colossians 1:12-15).

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 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.But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

Paul’s  “plainness of speech” can be interpreted as boldness of speech.  Because we have the promise of things to come, we do not cower. There is nothing hidden. We use bold speech. Our hope is real. His promises are true. What God says He means. Through Christ, He has again shown himself to be faithful to His word.  At the death of Jesus on the cross, the veil in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies from everything else ripped from top to bottom. 

Prior to the tearing of the veil, the only person allowed in the Holy of Holies was the High Priest. Jesus dying on the Cross replaced that veil with His blood. Jesus alone now stands between God and Man. It is through Him we have access to the holiness of God. By the tearing of the veil, Jesus repaired the breach. He solved the problem created in the Garden of Eden by man’s disobedience. 

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:11-12).

There are those who prefer we subdue our confidence in God because without having received Jesus for themselves, they cannot understand the spiritual aspect of this incredible gift.  Without their belief in Jesus, the veil of the old covenant remains and separates them from access to God.   As believers, we can come boldly to God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.(Hebrews 4: 14-16).

Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.

The only way for direct access to God is to remove the temple veil and approach through the blood of Christ. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24).

There will come a day when all will bow before him.  The Veil we hide behind will be completely removed and tossed aside. Scripture tells us that Israel will, in fact, turn back to their Lord.  God is not finished with them yet. In the meantime, we dwell in the dispensation of the Church, the bride of Christ, where the Spirit of the Lord is, and there we find liberty. Freedom to access God directly. Freedom to pursue a personal relationship with our Creator.  Freedom from the constraints of the law. Boldness in our hearts and confidence in His word.  We are no longer at odds - we are at peace with God and have the peace of God. There will be a day when there will be no more sin, no hurt, no harm.  There will be a day when Jesus returns, and we will be like Him.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.(1 John 3:2).

Questions to consider:

  1.  Are their unsurrenders aspects of your life, like the Corinthian church, have you allowed the grace of God to be your excuse for living contrary to the will of God?

  2. Do you trust in the sufficiency of Christ, do you understand that adding your own self-righteousness as payment for your sin on top of the blood of Christ is an offense to God?

  3. What veils have you erected in your life that need to be torn down by the power of the Holy Spirit, beliefs, or behaviors that keep you back from a full and free relationship with God through Christ?

Thank you for studying with us! God bless!



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