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2 Corinthians 3:6

Ministry of Life

6 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.

Paul is very careful to explain that it was God who hade him an effective minister of the New Testament. He does not want anyone to believe that he is boasting of his own abilities. The same Greek word that was translated as "sufficient: and "sufficiency" is here translated as "made us able." The emphasis is on the sufficiency of their ministry having been received from God.

"The New Testament" is the new covenant, which was based on the shed blood of Jesus (Luke 27:20), in contrast to the old covenant founded in the Law of Moses and based on the shed blood of animals. It was the new covenant by which God provided a way for our salvation and is now mankind's only hope.

"...not of the letter, but of the spirit:" The letter refers to the letter of the law. It was an external principle by which men were to live. Those who tried to live by it mostly only made an outward show of righteousness. The Spirit, on the other hand, represents the new covenant which is written on the hearts of men. Those who live by it have an inner righteousness born of the blood of Christ's sacrifice.

"...for the letter killeth," When writing to the Romans, Paul said, "...the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression... For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death." (Romans 4:15; 7:9-10 ) The written law of God was perfect and would be the pathway to life, if the people obeyed... but they could not. They lived, therefore, with the expectation of a future condemnation. "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen." (Deuteronomy 27:26)

"...but the spirit giveth life." The gift of the Spirit is God's perfect grace. All those who are born of the Spirit have the new covenant written upon their hearts. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Paul, therefore, was made an able minister of the new covenant by God. His ministry was one that offered life to those who were dying in their sins.

As a born again Christian, God has given you the same sufficiency for ministry as Paul had. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1Peter 2:5) How will you use that opportunity to serve Him?

Before The Throne:

Ask God to affirm in you that you have the ability to minister to others. You probably will not be used in the same way that Paul was used, but you nevertheless have the ability to present the gospel and to offer life to the dying world around you. Pray that God will show you where and how you are to do that.

For Further Study:

** hath. 2Cor 5:18-20; Matt 13:52; Rom 1:5; 1Cor 3:5, 10; 1Cor 12:28; Eph 3:7; Eph 4:11-12; Col 1:25-29; 1Tim 1:11-12; 1Tim 4:6; 2Tim 1:11; ** the new. 2Cor 3:14; Jer 31:31; Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1Cor 11:25; Heb 7:22; Heb 8:6-10; Heb 9:15-20; Heb 12:24; Heb 13:20; ** not. Rom 2:27-29; Rom 7:6; ** for. 2Cor 3:7, 9; Deut 27:26; Rom 3:20; Rom 4:15; Rom 7:9-11; Gal 3:10-12, 3:21; ** but the. John 6:63; Rom 8:2; 1John 1:1; ** giveth life. John 5:21; Rom 4:17; 1Cor 15:45; Eph 2:1, 5; 1Pet 3:18;


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