Ministers of the New Covenant
3 1 Does it sound like we're patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we're not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. 2 You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. 3 Christ himself wrote it - not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives - and we publish it. 4 We couldn't be more sure of ourselves in this - that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. 5 We wouldn't think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter.
6 His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn't written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It's written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives! 7 The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses' face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun. 8 How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit? 9 If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation? 10 Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one. 11 If that makeshift arrangement impressed us, how much more this brightly shining government installed for eternity?
12 With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. 13 Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn't notice that the glory was fading away - 14 and they didn't notice. They didn't notice it then and they don't notice it now, don't notice that there's nothing left behind that veil. 15 Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can't see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there's nothing there. 16 Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are - face to face! 17 They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! 18 All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.