Servants of the New Agreement
1Are we starting to brag about ourselves again? Do we need letters of introduction to you or from you, like some other people? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts. It is known and read by everyone. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ that he sent through us. This letter is not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets.# Meaning the law of Moses that was written on stone tablets (Exodus 24:12; 25:16). It is written on human hearts.
4We can say this, because through Christ we feel sure before God. 5I do not mean that we are able to say that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do. 6God made us able to be servants of a new agreement from himself to his people. This new agreement is not a written law. It is of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
7The law that brought death was written in words on stone. It came with God’s glory. Moses’ face was so bright with glory that the people of Israel could not continue to look at his face. And that glory later disappeared. 8So surely the new way that brings the Spirit has even more glory. 9That law judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the new way that makes people right with God has much greater glory. 10That old law had glory. But it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of this new way. 11If that law which disappeared came with glory, then this new way which continues forever has much greater glory.
12We have this hope, so we are very brave. 13We are not like Moses. He put a covering over his face so that the people of Israel would not see it. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end. 14But their minds were closed. Even today that same covering hides the meaning when they read the old agreement. That covering is taken away only through Christ. 15But even today, when they read the law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds. 16But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away. 17The Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory. And it comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.