Chapter 3 starts off with a beautiful simile. The Bible compares us to paper letters, to be read by those around us. We are written not with black ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not on paper or tablets (as in the bible times), but on human hearts. God has invested time and effort into making us valuable, confident, and useful, instruments of the Covenant. We are not to lose faith or hope in him, as we are his living instruments. This is also reminiscent of the fact that God is the author of our lives: we know not what will happen in the future and it is not our responsibility to know. In Jeremiah 29:11, it is stated: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What we should be worrying about should only be limited to today, and not tomorrow. Trusting in God, and in his absolute power, is all that we are required to do.
“16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ” 2 Corinthians 3: 16-17
God’s is the ministry that brought glory and righteousness to this world. Furthermore, what used to shine with glory in this world will dull in comparison to God’s New Covenant, which is much greater and lasts much longer. In times of transition, especially in the Old Testament, Moses would have to put a veil over his head before speaking to God; before facing God directly when confronting the burning bush he had to take off his shoes as he was walking on holy ground. Now, the barrier between man and God has been broken by the coming of Jesus Christ, and we are all the more encouraged to talk to God and to get to know him. ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ Therefore, if the Holy Spirit reigns in us, we will be transformed in his glory.
Chapter 4 – Present weakness and Resurrection Life
Chapter 4 dishes out guidance on how to rid ourselves of our weaknesses. Though relatively straightforward, they are not as simple as they seem, for we are constantly subjected to temptation and our own iniquities in our every day lives. Nevertheless, we should not lose heart, but should go about renouncing our secret and shameful ways, avoiding deception, and stopping ourselves from distorting the word of God. We should not hide ourselves from others, but reveal the truth plainly. The Bible frequently uses the metaphor of Christ’s believers as a pool of light – shining out and reaching the dark corners of the world. Again, persecution is a major problem Christians are faced with, but, it will not come to the point where it is unbearable:
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10″ 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10
Just as Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for spreading the gospel but began praying and singing hymns loudly to God (Acts 16:25), we should have courage to look for the positive side. We will not be abandoned nor destroyed, for we have God on our side. Moreover, there is a balance between life and death in each of us. Believers who are alive will be given over to death in their work for Christ, but at the same time, our lives are at work in God. He has molded and shaped each of our lives to perfectly reflect and empower his ministry, therefore our lives are living works of God, and when we die, we will join him in our new lives in heaven. We should not lose heart. Fixing ourselves on what is unseen, and eternal, is how we will be renewed day after day.