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2 Corinthians Chapter Three


2 Corinthians 3

These words give rise to an exposition of the gospel in contrast with the law, which the false teachers mixed up with the gospel. He gives this exposition with the most touching appeal to the heart of the Corinthians, who had been converted through his means. Did he begin speaking of his ministry to commend himself anew, or did he need, as others, letters of commendation to them or from them? They were his letters of commendation, the striking proof of the power of his ministry, a proof which he carried always in his heart, ready to bring it forward on every occasion. He can say this now, being happy in their obedience. And why did they serve as a letter in his favour? Because in their faith they were the living expression of his doctrine. They were Christ's letter of commendation, which, by means of his ministry, had been written on the fleshy tables of the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost, as the law had been graven on tables of stone by God Himself.

This was Paul's confidence with regard to his ministry; his competency came from God for the ministry of the new covenant, not of the letter (not even the letter of this covenant, any more than the letter of anything else) but of the Spirit, the true force of the purpose of God, as the Spirit gave it. For the letter kills, as a rule imposed on man; the Spirit quickens, as the power of God in grace-the purpose of God communicated to the heart of man by the power of God, who imparted it to him that he might enjoy it. Now the subject of this ministry brought out the difference between it and the ministry of the law yet more strongly. The law, graven on stones, had been introduced with glory, although it was a thing that was to pass away as a means of relation between God and men. It was a ministry of death, for they were only to live by keeping it. Nor could it be otherwise ordered than on this principle. A law was to be kept; but man being already a sinner by nature and by will, having desires which the law forbade, that law could only be death to him-it was a ministry of death. It was a ministry of condemnation because the authority of God came in to give to the law the sanction of condemnation against every soul that should break it. It was a ministry of death and of condemnation because man was a sinner.

And observe, here, that to mingle grace with the law changes nothing in its effect, except to aggravate the penalty that results from it by aggravating the guilt of him who violated the law, inasmuch as he violated it in spite of the goodness and the grace. For it was still the law, and man was called to satisfy the responsibility under which the law placed him. "The soul that sinneth," said Jehovah to Moses, "will I blot out of my book." The figure used by the apostle shews that he is speaking of the second descent of Moses from Mount Sinai, when he had heard the name of Jehovah proclaimed, merciful and gracious. The face of Moses did not shine the first time that he came down: he broke the tables before he went into the camp. The second time God made all His goodness pass before him, and the face of Moses reflected the glory which he had seen, partial as it may have been. But Israel could not bear this reflection; for how can it be borne, when it must judge the secrets of the heart after all? For, though grace had been shewn in sparing on Moses' intercession, the exigency of the law was still maintained, and every one was to suffer the consequences of his own disobedience. Thus the character of the law prevented Israel from understanding even the glory which was in the ordinances, as a figure of that which was better and permanent; and the whole system ordained by the hand of Moses was veiled to their eyes, and the people fell under the letter, even in that part of the law which was a testimony of things to be spoken afterwards. It was according to the wisdom of God that it should be so; for in this way all the effect of the law, as brought to bear on the heart and conscience of man, has been fully developed.

There are many Christians who make a law of Christ Himself, and in thinking of His love as a fresh motive to oblige them to love Him, think of it only as an obligation, a very great increase to the measure of the obligation which lies upon them, an obligation which they feel bound to satisfy. That is to say, they are still under the law, and consequently under condemnation.

But the ministry which the apostle fulfilled was not this; it was the ministry of righteousness and of the Spirit, not as requiring righteousness in order to stand before God, but as revealing it. Christ was this righteousness, made such on God's part for us; and we are made the righteousness of God in Him. The gospel proclaimed righteousness on God's part, instead of requiring it from man according to the law. Now the Holy Ghost could be the seal of that righteousness. He could come down upon the man Christ, because He was perfectly approved of God; He was righteous-the righteous One. He came down upon us, because we are made the righteousness of God in Christ. Thus it was the ministry of the Spirit; His power wrought in it. He was bestowed when that which it announced was received by faith; and with the Spirit they also received understanding of the mind and purposes of God, as they were revealed in the Person of a glorified Christ, in whom the righteousness of God was revealed and subsisted eternally before Him.

Thus the apostle unites, in the self-same thought, the mind of God in the word according to the Spirit, the glory of Christ who had been hidden in it under the letter, and the Holy Ghost Himself, who gave its force, revealed that glory, and, by dwelling and working in the believer, enables him to enjoy it. Thus, where the Spirit was, there was liberty; they were no longer under the yoke of the law, of the fear of death, and of condemnation. They were in Christ before God, in peace before Him, according to perfect love and that favour which is better than life, even as it shone upon Christ, without a veil, according to the grace which reigns by righteousness. When it is said, "Now the Lord is that spirit," allusion is made to verse 6; verses 7-16 is a parenthesis. Christ glorified is the true thought of the Spirit which God had previously hidden under figures. And here is the practical result: they beheld the Lord with open (that is, with unveiled) face; they were able to do it. The glory of the face of Moses judged the thoughts and intents of the hearts, causing terror by threatening the disobedient and the sinner with death and condemnation. Who could stand in the presence of God? But the glory of the face of Jesus, a man on high, is the proof that all the sins of those who behold it are blotted out; for He who is there bore them all before He ascended, and He needed to put them all away in order to enter into that glory. We contemplate that glory by the Spirit, who has been given us in virtue of Christ's having ascended into it. He did not say, "I will go up; peradventure I shall make atonement." He made the atonement and went up. Therefore we gaze upon it with joy, we love to behold it: each ray that we see is the proof that in the eyes of God our sins are no more. Christ has been made sin for us; He is in the glory. Now, in thus beholding the glory with affection, with intelligence, taking delight in it, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the power of the Holy Ghost, who enables us to realise and to enjoy these things; and in this is christian progress. Thus the assembly too becomes the epistle of Christ.

The allusion made at the same time to the Jews at the end of the parenthesis, where the apostle makes a comparison between the two systems, is most touching. The veil, he says, is taken away in Christ. Nothing is now veiled. The glorious substance is accomplished. The veil is on the heart of the Jews, when they read the Old Testament. Now every time that Moses entered into the tabernacle to speak to God, or to hear Him, he took off his veil. Thus, says the apostle, when Israel shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

There is but one more remark to be made. [1] are the subject the gospel treats of, not the ministry which announces it-the glory of the Person of Jesus Christ, the substance of that which the Jewish ordinances represented only in figure.

The apostle returns to the subject of his ministry in connection with his sufferings, shewing that this doctrine of a Christ victorious over death, truly received into the heart, makes us victorious over all fear of death, and over all the sufferings that are linked with the earthen vessel in which this treasure is carried.


[1] See chapter 3:11.

── John DarbySynopsis of 2 Corinthians


2 Corinthians 3

Chapter Contents

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)

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-11

(Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-11)

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, Ezekiel 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.

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

(Read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

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.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 Corinthians


2 Corinthians 3

Verse 1

[1] Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

Do we begin again to recommend ourselves — Is it needful? Have I nothing but my own word to recommend me? St. Paul chiefly here intends himself; though not excluding Timotheus, Titus, and Silvanus.

Unless we need — As if he had said, Do I indeed want such recommendation?

Verse 2

[2] Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

Ye are our recommendatory letter - More convincing than bare words could be.

Written on our hearts — Deeply engraven there, and plainly legible to all around us.

Verse 3

[3] Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ — Which he has formed and published to the world.

Ministered by us — Whom he has used herein as his instruments, therefore ye are our letter also.

Written not in tables of stone — Like the ten commandments. But in the tender, living tables of their hearts - God having taken away the hearts of stone and given them hearts of flesh.

Verse 4

[4] And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

Such trust have we in God — That is, we trust in God that this is so.

Verse 5

[5] Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves — So much as to think one good thought; much less, to convert sinners.

Verse 6

[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.

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant — Of the new, evangelical dispensation. Not of the law, fitly called the letter, from God's literally writing it on the two tables.

But of the Spirit — Of the gospel dispensation, which is written on the tables of our hearts by the Spirit.

For the letter — The law, the Mosaic dispensation.

Killeth — Seals in death those who still cleave to it.

But the Spirit — The gospel, conveying the Spirit to those who receive it.

Giveth life — Both spiritual and eternal: yea, if we adhere to the literal sense even of the moral law, if we regard only the precept and the sanction as they stand in themselves, not as they lead us to Christ, they are doubtless a killing ordinance, and bind us down under the sentence of death.

Verse 7

[7] But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

And if the ministration of death — That is, the Mosaic dispensation, which proves such to those who prefer it to the gospel, the most considerable part of which was engraven on those two stones, was attended with so great glory.

Verse 8

[8] How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

The ministration of the Spirit — That is, the Christian dispensation.

Verse 9

[9] For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

The ministration of condemnation — Such the Mosaic dispensation proved to all the Jews who rejected the gospel whereas through the gospel (hence called the ministration of righteousness) God both imputed and imparted righteousness to all believers. But how can the moral law (which alone was engraven on stone) be the ministration of condemnation, if it requires no more than a sincere obedience, such as is proportioned to our infirm state? If this is sufficient to justify us, then the law ceases to be a ministration of condemnation. It becomes (flatly contrary to the apostle's doctrine) the ministration of righteousness.

Verse 10

[10] For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

It hath no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excelleth — That is, none in comparison of this more excellent glory. The greater light swallows up the less.

Verse 11

[11] For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

That which remaineth — That dispensation which remains to the end of the world; that spirit and life which remain for ever.

Verse 12

[12] Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:

Having therefore this hope — Being fully persuaded of this.

Verse 13

[13] And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

And we do not act as Moses did, who put a veil over his face - Which is to be understood with regard to his writings also. So that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly to the end of that dispensation which is now abolished - The end of this was Christ. The whole Mosaic dispensation tended to, and terminated in, him; but the Israelites had only a dim, wavering sight of him, of whom Moses spake in an obscure, covert manner.

Verse 14

[14] But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

The same veil remaineth on their understanding unremoved - Not so much as folded back, (so the word implies,) so as to admit a little, glimmering light. On the public reading of the Old Testament - The veil is not now on the face of Moses or of his writings, but on the reading of them, and on the heart of them that believe not.

Which is taken away in Christ — That is, from the heart of them that truly believe on him.

Verse 16

[16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

When it — Their heart.

Shall turn to the Lord — To Christ, by living faith.

The veil is taken away — That very moment; and they see, with the utmost clearness, how all the types and prophecies of the law are fully accomplished in him.

Verse 17

[17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Now the Lord — Christ is that Spirit of the law whereof I speak, to which the letter was intended to lead. And where the Spirit of the Lord, Christ, is, there is liberty - Not the veil, the emblem of slavery. There is liberty from servile fear, liberty from the guilt and from the power of sin, liberty to behold with open face the glory of the Lord.

Verse 18

[18] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

And, accordingly, all we that believe in him, beholding as in a glass - In the mirror of the gospel.

The glory of the Lord — His glorious love.

Are transformed into the same image — Into the same love. From one degree of this glory to another, in a manner worthy of his almighty Spirit. What a beautiful contrast is here! Moses saw the glory of the Lord, and it rendered his face so bright, that he covered it with a veil; Israel not being able to bear the reflected light. We behold his glory in the glass of his word, and our faces shine too; yet we veil them not, but diffuse the lustre which is continually increasing, as we fix the eye of our mind more and more steadfastly on his glory displayed in the gospel.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 2 Corinthians


Chapter 3. Living Recommendation

The Letter Kills
The Spirit Gives Life

I. Believers Are Letters of Recommendation

  1. Two Recommendation Letters
  2. Written on Tablets of Human Hearts
  3. Made by the Spirit of God

II. Ministers of a New Covenant

  1. The Ministry that Condemns
  2. The Ministry that Brings Righteousness
  3. The Everlasting Glory

III. The Spirit of the Lord Gives Freedom

  1. Covered by a Veil
  2. Turn to the Lord
  3. Reflect the Lord's Glory
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Three general Review
1) To learn how one becomes an "epistle of Christ"
2) To see the contrast between the old and new covenants
3) To appreciate the role of the Spirit in the new covenant, and in
   producing our transformation
Having just begun vindicating his ministry as an apostle of Jesus
Christ, Paul reminds the Corinthians that he really needs no letter of
accreditation, for they are his epistles of commendation.  Through his
ministry, in which he had written upon their hearts with the Spirit of
the living God, they themselves have become an epistle of Christ (1-3).
This he says, with full realization that it is God who has made him
sufficient as a minister of the new covenant, which is a ministry of
the Spirit who gives life (4-6).
Paul then proceeds to contrast the new covenant with the old covenant,
to illustrate the glorious nature of his ministry.  With Exodus
34:29-35 as his reference, he equates the glory of the old covenant
with the glory on Moses' face that was temporary.  But if the old
covenant, described as one of death and condemnation, had glory, then
how much more glorious is the new covenant, a ministry of the Spirit
and of righteousness which is not passing away (7-11)!
Paul then declares that those who listen only to the Old Testament
still have a veil on their hearts (12-15).  But when we turn to the
Lord (whom Paul equates with the Spirit), the veil is taken away and
there is liberty.  Also, by beholding the glory of the Lord with
unveiled face we are being transformed into the same glorious image by
the Spirit of the Lord (16-18)
      1. He does not mean by his words to commend himself (1a)
      2. For Paul does not need, as might others, letters of 
         recommendation (1b)
      1. They are evidence of his handiwork, which all can know and 
         read (2)
      2. They are an "epistle of Christ", upon whose hearts Paul has
         written with the Spirit of the living God (3)
      1. His trust is not based upon confidence in himself, but in 
         Christ and the sufficiency that God provides (4-5)
      2. God has made him sufficient as a minister of the new covenant
         a. A covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter
         b. A covenant that gives life, not death
      1. In contrast with the Old Covenant, written and engraved on 
         stones (7-11)
         a. The ministry of death vs. the ministry of the Spirit (7-8)
         b. The ministry of condemnation vs. the ministry of 
            righteousness (9-10)
         c. That which is passing away vs. that which remains (11)
      2. In comparison with the Lawgiver, Moses (12-16)
         a. With the more glorious nature of the new covenant, Paul 
            could speak with great boldness (12)
         b. With the reading of Moses (the Old Testament), however, a
            veil remains on the heart (12-15)
            1) An allusion to the events of Exodus 34:29-35
            2) With the veil on Moses' face, the children of Israel 
               could not see that the glory of his face was fading (13)
            3) Israel's inability to see then is like their inability
               today, unless they come to Christ (14-15)
         c. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed, just
            as Moses did when he returned to the presence of the Lord
      3. Summary explanation (17-18)
         a. Paul explains that the Lord of verse 16 is the Spirit of 
            the Lord, who provides liberty (17)
         b. When we (like Moses) are able to behold with unveiled face
            the glory of the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord transforms us
            into the same image (18)
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The "accredited" nature of Paul's ministry (1-3)
   - The "glorious" nature of Paul's ministry (4-18)
2) Who was Paul's "epistle of commendation"? (1-2)
   - The Corinthians themselves
3) What writing instrument had Paul used to make the Corinthians an
   "epistle of Christ"?  And upon what had he written? (3)
   - The Spirit of the living God
   - Tablets of flesh, of the heart
4) Who made Paul sufficient as a minister of the new covenant? (5-6a)
   - God
5) Of what is the new covenant?  And what does it give? (6b)
   - The Spirit
   - Life
6) How is the "old covenant" described in verses 7-9?
   - The ministry of death, written and engraved on stones
   - The ministry of condemnation
   - Glorious
7) How is the "new covenant" described in verses 7-9?
   - The ministry of the Spirit
   - The ministry of righteousness
   - More glorious
8) What is said of the glory of the old covenant when compared with the
   glory of the new covenant? (10)
   - It had no glory
9) How else are the old and new covenants described in verse 11?
   - The old covenant is that which is "passing away"
   - The new covenant is that which "remains"
10) What remains on the heart when only the Old Testament is read?
   - A veil
11) What happens when one turns to the Lord? (16)
   - The veil is taken away
12) In turning to the Lord, who is it one is actually turning to, and
    what does one find? (17)
   - The Spirit of the Lord
   - Liberty
13) As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, what
    happens? (18)
   - We are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory
14) By whom does this transformation take place? (18)
   - The Spirit of the Lord


Transformation By Beholding (3:18)
1. What is the goal of the Christian life? What is it we are to become?
   a. In Ro 8:29, we learn what is the ultimate goal of the Christian
      as predetermined by God
   b. It is simply this:  "...to be conformed to the image of His Son"
   -- To become like Christ is our ultimate goal!
2. But how does this take place? How does one become like Christ? Take
   a look at these words of Paul:
   "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the 
   glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from
   glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.  (2 Cor 3:18)
3. In this verse, with the help of its context, we learn how it is
   a. To reach that ultimate goal as predestined by God
   b. To be  "...conformed to the image of His Son"
[The passage which serves as our text (2 Co 3:18) is not an easy one,
but since it reveals important insights into the goal of the Christian
life, it is worth taking the effort to carefully consider what it says.
For example, we first observe that...]
      1. The word "transformed"...
         a. Comes from the Greek word metamorphoo {met-am-or-fo'-o}
         b. Which means "to change into another form, to transform, to
         c. The word "metamorphosis" is derived from this word, which
            we use to describe the process of a caterpillar changing
            into a butterfly
         d. It's used to describe Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration
            - cf. Mt 17:1-2
            1) He was "transfigured before them."
            2) His face "shone like the sun" and His clothes "became
               as white as the light"
      2. Christians likewise are to undergo a transformation...
         a. Not only based upon our text (2 Co 3:18)
         b. But also Ro 12:1-2, where our transformation is so we may
            "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of
      3. Note in our text that Paul said "we all"
         a. Transformation is for ALL Christians
         b. Not just for a select few!
      1. Here we learn the object of our transformation, which is to 
         become like Christ
      2. As we noticed in Ro 8:29, this is part of God's predetermined
         plan for those in Christ
      3. Jesus intimated as such in Lk 6:40 ("...everyone who is 
         perfectly trained will be like his teacher.")
      1. This phrase suggests that our transformation is progressive
         a. It does not happen all at once, but gradually
         b. As Paul said we are "being transformed" (present tense), 
            not "have been transformed" (past tense)
      2. Transformation therefore involves a growth process
         a. We expect those who have been Christians but a short time 
            to have made only some progress
         b. But we should also expect those who have been Christians a
            good while to have made much progress!
      3. The Christian life is not to be static, but a dynamic 
         a. In which changes are taking place
         b. In which a person is becoming more and more like their 
            Savior, Jesus Christ!
         -- Compare this with what Solomon wrote about the just - Pro
[When transformation does not take place, something is wrong, and it 
may be a failure to appreciate and utilize our second point gleaned 
from this passage...]
      1. We must remember the context of Paul's words to appreciate his
         a. He had alluded to how Moses out of necessity put a veil on
            his face when speaking to the people - cf. 2 Co 3:13
         b. For when Moses had gone to Mount Sinai to receive the 
            commandments of the Lord, being in the presence of God made
            his face shine brightly - cf. Ex 34:29-35
      2. In like manner our transformation takes place as we 
         a. Note that we do it with "unveiled face"
            1) The Israelites were unable to behold any of the glory 
               that shone from Moses' face because his was veiled
            2) But Christians are able to look upon the Lord's glory 
               without impediment
         b. "Beholding as in a mirror" is actually just one word in 
            the Greek and has three possible ways to be translated:
            1) "beholding as in a mirror (or glass)"
            2) "reflecting as in mirror"
            3) "beholding" (with no necessary reference to a mirror)
            -- In view of the context and the comparison with Moses, 
               the main idea seems to be the "beholding", without any
               particular reference to a mirror
         c. "Beholding" suggests contemplation and meditation, not a 
            momentary glance
      3. Thus the Christian life is to be one of contemplation, if 
         transformation is to take place
         a. That Christians are to engage in contemplation is evident
            from several passages
         b. Such as Ph 4:8; Co 3:1-2
         c. Sadly, our fast-paced lifestyles often discourage the kind
            of contemplation needed to adequately "behold"
         -- Without contemplation (beholding), however, there can be no
      1. Here is the object of our contemplation:  the Lord's glory!
         a. It is not just the act of contemplation, but the object of
            our contemplation that transforms us!
         b. Just as it was the "glory of the Lord" that caused Moses'
            face to shine, so it is "the glory of the Lord" that 
            transforms us!
      2. What is "the glory of the Lord" we are to behold?
         a. It would involve the glory He manifested while on earth 
            - cf. Jn 1:14
         b. For the glory of the Lord is reflected in every aspect of 
            His birth, life, teaching, miracles, good deeds, death, 
            resurrection, ascension, and current reign as our king and
            high priest!
         -- Thus the Scriptures (especially the gospels) are the tools
            we use to "behold His glory", as we read on...
      1. This phrase reminds us of the role the Spirit has in our 
         a. What we know of Jesus came through the ministry of the 
            1) The Spirit's ministry was to glorify Jesus - Jn 16:12-14
            2) He reminded the apostles, and inspired their writings 
               - cf. Jn 14:26; 1 Co 2:12-13
         b. So as we contemplate upon the Word, we are able to behold 
            the glory of the Lord by virtue of what the Spirit has 
      2. Indeed, this may explain what Paul meant in saying "Now the 
         Lord is the Spirit..." - 2 Co 3:17
         a. In verse 16, he had said "...when one turns to the Lord,
            the veil is taken away"
         b. But how can one "turn to the Lord" today?
            1) Only through the Spirit Whom the Lord Jesus sent to 
               continue His work
            2) Paul had already spoken of "the new covenant...of the 
               Spirit" which "gives life" - 2 Co 3:6
               a) One finds "liberty" (from sin, the Old Law, death)
                  where "the Spirit of the Lord" is found - 2 Co 3:17
               b) For it is the new covenant of the Spirit that offers
                  such things
         c. In this context, the Spirit is therefore "the Lord" (verse
            17) before Whom we must stand with "unveiled face" in 
            order to be transformed
         d. Of course, the "ministers" of this "new covenant...of the
            Spirit" were the apostles and inspired writers of the New
            Testament - 2 Co 3:5-6
            1) Thus when we turn to their writings, we are turning to
               the Spirit!
            2) And when we turn to the Spirit, we are turning to the 
            3) And when we turn to the Lord, we behold Him in all His
            4) And when we behold His glory, we are gradually changed 
               "into the same image from glory to glory"!
1. In Co 3:9-11 we are told...
   "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man 
   with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in
   knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where
   there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised,
   barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all."
2. This verse by Paul is yet another reminder that the Christian life
   is one that involves a transformation...
   a. In which we are being "renewed"
   b. And that the object of our "renewal" is to become like Jesus!
3. From our study, I hope that we been impressed with the importance of
   "beholding" the glory of the Lord if we wish to be transformed
   a. The Christian life must include contemplation and meditation upon
      the glory of the Lord as revealed by the Spirit through the 
      apostles and writers of the New Testament
   b. We cannot be transformed by infrequent and casual glimpses of the
      Lord's glory!
Are you "beholding...the glory of the Lord"? Do you take the time to 
contemplate upon the glory of our Lord as revealed by the Spirit of God
in the Holy Scriptures?  
Consider what time you spend in studying the Bible as you seek to
answer these questions...


--《Executable Outlines


Living Recommendation

The Letter Kills

The Spirit Gives Life


I.  Believers Are Letters of Recommendation

1.    Two Recommendation Letters

2.    Written on Tablets of Human Hearts

3.    Made by the Spirit of God

II.Ministers of a New Covenant

1.    The Ministry that Condemns

2.    The Ministry that Brings Righteousness

3.    The Everlasting Glory

III.       The Spirit of the Lord Gives Freedom

1.    Covered by a Veil

2.    Turn to the Lord

3.    Reflect the Lord’s Glory

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament