2 Corinthians 3 -

2 Corinthians 3:3 - What a concept - we are letters from Christ, delivered by those who introduced us to Him. Letters to whom? Those around us, I guess. Our lives then, speak for Jesus. What an incredible blessing, and an incredible responsibility.

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 - The OT ministry, based on commands and rules and law, Paul calls the ministry of death. Harsh? perhaps, but what was it's effect? To constantly remind those who participated in it that they had fallen short. Way short. Again and again, day after day. Yet it was from God, so it came with glory, such that Moses' face shone with a brilliance that the Israelites couldn't gaze upon.

So, here comes Jesus with a new ministry. Not of a constant reminder of shortcomings, but of imparted righteousness that surpasses and replaces them. It is not one of condemnation, but of hope. Hope is superior to condemnation, I don't care what the context, but when the context is eternal, it is far superior, far more glorious.

Why then, so so many Christians spend so much energy focusing on and proclaiming the dos and don't of religion? Those only have relevance in the context and light of the cross and gospel of Christ. In that context, obedience is a joy because what we've been freely given, but when obedience is the focus, joy is missing. Jared Wilson tweeted today "Obvious to everyone but them: Legalists have no joy. (Holiness: You're Doing it Wrong)", which is so true. When was the last time you saw someone whose ministry or religion revolves around obedience who seemed joyful? They peruse holiness as a goal, failing to see (and revel in) the fact that Jesus has already offered his Holiness to them free of charge. it is the acceptance and basking in that holiness that produces in us the compelling desire to obey.

I challenge you - if your faith doesn't produce regular ear-to-ear grins and a dropping to your knees in awe and worship for the grace and love of God that is manifest in the gospel, you're missing the point. I know I did for years, and I'm eternally grateful for the people and circumstances that brought me to the awakening that I'm living in now. I hope and pray that I never stop reveling in the Gospel.

Obedience is important, but is secondary - subservient even - to the gospel. That's what Paul is saying here in 2 Corinthians 3, the law came with glory, but the gospel came with such greater glory as to make the law appear to have no glory at all.

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