2 Corinthians 3

* The preference of the gospel to the law given by Moses. (1-11)

The preaching of the apostle was suitable to the excellency and

evidence of the gospel, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

(12-18)

1-11 Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human

applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing

is more delightful to faithful ministers, or more to their

praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the

spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The law of

Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed

abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law

of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as

fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, #Eze

36:26|. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this

impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He

ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole

dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him

alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the

ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the

gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy

Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal. The Old Testament

dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New

Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and

curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us;

but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us.

Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this

shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known

the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining

the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much

exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the

legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing

letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without

dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening

power.
12-18 It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to use

great plainness, or clearness, of speech. The Old Testament

believers had only cloudy and passing glimpses of that glorious

Saviour, and unbelievers looked no further than to the outward

institution. But the great precepts of the gospel, believe,

love, obey, are truths stated as clearly as possible. And the

whole doctrine of Christ crucified, is made as plain as human

language can make it. Those who lived under the law, had a veil

upon their hearts. This veil is taken away by the doctrines of

the Bible about Christ. When any person is converted to God,

then the veil of ignorance is taken away. The condition of those

who enjoy and believe the gospel is happy, for the heart is set

at liberty to run the ways of God's commandments. They have

light, and with open face they behold the glory of the Lord.

Christians should prize and improve these privileges. We should

not rest contented without knowing the transforming power of the

gospel, by the working of the Spirit, bringing us to seek to be

like the temper and tendency of the glorious gospel of our Lord

and Saviour Jesus Christ, and into union with Him. We behold

Christ, as in the glass of his word; and as the reflection from

a mirror causes the face to shine, the faces of Christians shine

also.

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