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Servants of God's New Agreement

3 1Are we starting to boast about ourselves again? Do we need letters of introduction to you or from you, like some other people? 2You yourselves are our letter. That letter is written on our hearts. It is known and read by all people. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ that he sent through us. This letter is not written with ink but with the Spirit* of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets.* It is written on human hearts. 4We can say these things, because through Christ we feel sure before God. 5I don't mean that we are able to say that we can do anything [good] ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do. 6God made us able to be servants of a new agreement [from God to his people]. This new agreement is not a written law. It is of the Spirit.* The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

The New Agreement Brings Greater Glory

7The [old] agreement* (the law) that brought death was written with words on stone.* It came with [God's] glory. Moses' face was so bright with glory that the people of Israel (the Jews) could not continue looking at his face. And that glory later disappeared. 8So surely the [new] agreement that brings the Spirit* has even more glory. 9This is what I mean: That [old] agreement judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the [new] agreement that makes people right [with God] has much greater glory. 10That [old] agreement had glory. But it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory [of the new agreement]. 11If the [agreement that] disappeared came with glory, then the [agreement that] continues forever has much greater glory. 12We have this hope, so we are very brave. 13We are not like Moses.* He put a covering over his face. Moses covered his face so that the people of Israel (the Jews) would not see it. The glory (brightness) was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end. 14But their minds were closed--[they could not understand]. Even today that same covering hides the meaning when they (the Jews) read [the writings of] the old agreement.* That covering has not been removed. It is taken away only through Christ. 15But even today, when these people read [the law of] Moses, there is a covering over their minds. 16But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away. 17The Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And our faces are not covered. We all show the Lord's glory. We are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory. This glory comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. stone tablets, stone Meaning the law that God gave to Moses, which was written on stone tablets (Ex. 24:12; 25:16). agreement In verses 7-11 literally, "service" or "ministry." Moses One of the most important leaders of the Jewish people during the time of the Old Testament. old agreement The agreement God gave to the Jews in the time of Moses. Here, it is used to mean the law of Moses on which that agreement was based.

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