Read 2 Corinthians 3
Focus on verse 1-3
When applying for a job or to rent an apartment, it is not uncommon for one to be asked to provide references. The reason a prospective employer or landlord requests references is in order to verify that you are in fact the kind of person that you describe yourself as on the resume or application that you provide. It is for this reason that when providing references we attempt to choose people who will give a good commendation on our behalf. The best reference is a person that is already known and trusted by the prospective employer or landlord.
In today’s reading Paul uses this example of a letter of commendation to explain the difference between the Old Testament Law that Moses received from God on mount Sinai and the New Covenant of grace established through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which brought to fulfillment that Old Testament Law.
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. (v. 1-3)
In the Old Testament God’s people had the law of God written on tablets of stone. With the coming of Jesus we have that law fulfilled by a new covenant of grace. That new covenant is sealed in our hearts by the promised Holy Spirit who dwells within those who choose to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. As a result, the law of God that was literally written on tablets of stone at mount Sinai, is now figuratively written on the tablet of our heart.
Paul goes on to explain how the letter of the law brought death, as it convicted us of our sin, and how the Spirit of that same law now brings life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We now have the commendation of Jesus Christ as our advocate, so that when we face judgment for the sin we have committed as we deserve, He is there to represent us and is able to procure our pardon.
Like it or not we live in a world where, while it helps a little to know a lot, it is not what we know, but who we know that gets us the job or the apartment we want. Likewise, in the kingdom of God it is not what we know but Who we know that gets us into God’s kingdom. We can know great volumes of knowledge about God, but if we do not actually “know” Jesus Christ all that knowledge will be of no value. There is only one way to the Father, and that way is through Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father except through me” are the words Jesus uses in John 14:6.
The only way to gain access to God is with the commendation of Jesus Christ. There is no other way.