The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Paul’s comparison between the Old and the New Covenant with it’s transforming power.
2 Corinthians 3:6-18
6 [God] has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.
14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Observations and reflections
Context: Paul contrasts the New Covenant in Christ to the Old Covenant through Moses. It is helpful to consider announcements of the two covenants as in these two cases
Exodus 31:18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel… I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, they my people.
- Read through 1 Corinthians 3 and make a comparative table
|Old Covenant||New Covenant|
|Ministry of death||?|
|Ministry of condemnation||?|
|Shame of fading glory||?|
- What does Paul mean with the phrases “ministry of condemnation” and “ministry of righteousness”?
- What do you understand with the phrase “the law within them… [written] on their hearts”? [Jeremiah 31:33]
- What does Paul say about the glory between the Old and New covenants? And what do you understand about that?
- According to this Text, how is one transformed into the image of Jesus? What does that mean in practice?
- In which way have your conscience been transformed since your conversion?
- In which way have your character been transformed since your conversion?
- What part of your character is in greatest need of transformation?
Meditation and prayer
Read the following portion of the Psalm a few times, “beholding the Lord”, then focus on the one part that most stirs your heart. Mediate (pray, memoriss, repeat) that one portion, praising the Lord and asking him to transform your character to better resemble him.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.
14 The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.