The Letter and the Spirit

2 Corinthians 3:4-11,

4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.

5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,

8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.

10 For indeed what had glory,  in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it.

11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. 

From these verses we can see that the letter of the Law of the old covenant kills, because no one could keep it, and thus were brought under condemnation. 

In contrast, the Spirit of the new covenant gives life, for instead of condemning us, the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

So the letter of the Law kills and the Spirit of the new covenant gives life. And that life comes through faith which is received from hearing the living word of the living God. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. It is the gift of God to all mankind.

John 6:63

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Romans 2:28-29,

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 

29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Romans 7:6,

But now we have been released from the Law [the letter], having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Having been released from the Law through Jesus carrying our body of sinful flesh with Himself on the cross, we are now free to live in and walk by the Spirit, who leads us in the works God has prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them.

Romans 3:28,

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 

The works done in and through our walk by the Spirit are very different from works of the Law. 

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does, James 1:25.

The Lord bless you from Zion.

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

“Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.