Guided by the love of Christ
God's new agreement
1Are we once again boasting about ourselves? Do we need letters to you or from you to tell others about us? Some people do need letters that tell about them. 2But you are our letter, and you are in our#3.2 our: Some manuscripts have “your”. hearts for everyone to read and understand. 3You are like a letter written by Christ and delivered by us. But you are not written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. You are written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God.#Ex 24.12; Jr 31.33; Ez 11.19; 36.26.
4We are sure about all this. Christ makes us sure in the very presence of God. 5We don't have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do. 6He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.#Jr 31.31.
7The Law of Moses brought only the promise of death, even though it was carved on stones and given in a wonderful way. Still the Law made Moses' face shine so brightly that the people of Israel could not look at it, even though it was a fading glory.#Ex 34.29. 8So won't the agreement that the Spirit brings to us be even more wonderful? 9If something that brings the death sentence is glorious, won't something that makes us acceptable to God be even more glorious? 10In fact, the new agreement is so wonderful that the Law is no longer glorious at all. 11The Law was given with a glory that faded away. But the glory of the new agreement is much greater, because it will never fade away.
12This wonderful hope makes us feel like speaking freely. 13We are not like Moses. His face was shining, but he covered it to keep the people of Israel from seeing the brightness fade away.#Ex 34.33. 14The people were stubborn, and something still keeps them from seeing the truth when the Law is read. Only Christ can take away the covering that keeps them from seeing.
15When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over 16with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord.#Ex 34.34. 17The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord's Spirit sets us free. 18So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord's Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.