1Are we starting to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of introduction to you or from you like other people, do we? 2You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us. You weren’t written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. You weren’t written on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4This is the confidence that we have through Christ in the presence of God. 5It isn’t that we ourselves are qualified to claim that anything came from us. No, our qualification is from God. 6He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not based on what is written but on the Spirit, because what is written kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Ministers of the new covenant
7The ministry that brought death was carved in letters on stone tablets. It came with such glory that the Israelites couldn’t look for long at Moses’ face because his face was shining with glory, even though it was a fading glory. 8Won’t the ministry of the Spirit be much more glorious? 9If the ministry that brought condemnation has glory, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness? 10In fact, what was glorious isn’t glorious now, because of the glory that is brighter. 11If the glory that fades away was glorious, how much more glorious is the one that lasts!
12So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 13We aren’t like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t watch the end of what was fading away. 14But their minds were closed. Right up to the present day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil is not removed because it is taken away by Christ. 15Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. 18All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.