24 Jan 2018
The Holy Spirit is the administrator of change in us. He can change us much better than we could ever change ourselves. There is a connection between the grace of God, which is the current covenant under which we operate, and the Holy Spirit. Although the Law of Moses has expired, many people still try to live under it. They do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them; for them, the law is still in effect. When we embrace the Word of God and remain in it, we are gradually transformed into God’s image; this is something that is impossible to do through self-effort. The Holy Spirit takes full responsibility for the changes that will take place in us. When we trust Him, we see a glorious transformation.
- The law of self-effort and sin-consciousness was replaced by God’s grace.
- Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 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. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward…Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty(2 Corinthians 3:1-4, 17).
- We must define exactly how this liberty can be applied in context. Some people may think it means liberty to shout and scream, but verse seventeen means much more than that.
- The “tables of stone” refer to the Ten Commandments. This is compared to the Holy Spirit writing on our hearts.
- Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God (2 Corinthians 3:5, AMPC).
- The Law of Moses was all about what people had to do to get God to act. Under grace, the focus has shifted from being self-dependent to being God-dependent.
- 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: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(2 Corinthians 3:6-11).
- “The ministration of death, written and engraven in stones” refers to the Ten Commandments.
- The law was designed to bring people to the end of their abilities. It was given to create a consciousness of sin.
- “The ministration of condemnation” again refers to the Ten Commandments, because breaking any of them led to condemnation.
- “That which remaineth” is the Spirit.
- 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. 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 (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
- We are the ministers of the covenant of grace; we minister through God’s ability, not ours.
- The law and the Ten Commandments have been done away with for those who are righteous, but not for those who are not born again.
- There are still churches and pastors who teach what has been abolished, namely, the Law of Moses.
- When the vail is taken away, we will be able to see the difference between broken stone with writing on it, and the real person of the Holy Spirit.
- For Christians, the law is no more, but for the unsaved, it is still in place.
- But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust (1 Timothy 1:8-11).
- The law is still valid for those who do not know Christ and who do not have the Holy Spirit.
- To use something lawfully is to use it for the purpose for which it was intended. The law was sent to bring us to the end of ourselves.
- We are righteous; we became the righteousness of God when we got born again.
- There is a distinction between those who are born again and led by the Spirit, and those who are not born again and still subject to the law.
- For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]! Indeed, in view of this fact, what once had splendor [the glory of the Law in the face of Moses] has come to have no splendor at all, because of the overwhelming glory that exceeds and excels it [the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ](2 Corinthians 3:9, 10, AMPC).
- The current ministry of grace greatly exceeds the old ministry that came from the Ten Commandments, which produces condemnation.
- And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC).
- The Spirit of the Lord has accepted full responsibility for our change.
- It does not matter what we are like right now; the Spirit promises that if we stay in the Word, He will change us.
- Under the law, we had to attempt to change ourselves. Every failure brought guilt and condemnation.
- Spending time in God’s Word gives us rest and allows the Spirit to change us.
- When we stay in the Word, the Holy Spirit stays committed to working in us.
- Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4).
- God will shape the things we want and the things for which we ask.
- If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).
- Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
- When we are in the rhythm of sin, all we can see is the law. When we try to keep it, we fail and feel guilty and condemned. We try again through self-effort, and the same thing happens again; this is how we get caught in the cycle of sin.
- Legalism will wear us out.
2 Corinthians 3:1-4, 6-18
2 Corinthians 3:5, 9, 10, 18, AMPC
1 Timothy 1:8-11
Matthew 11:28-30, MSG