The Second Letter to Corinth | Letters | 2 Corinthians 3.1-6 |

by | Nov 6, 2019

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Letter writing is a lost art. It’s not nearly as common practice as it use to be. Back in the day, people would send hand written notes to each other on pieces of paper, place them in an envelop and mail them to a person. You could usually receive the letter in 3-4 days, maybe a week, depending on where you lived. Today, email has replaced most of the lost art of letter writing.

Paul wrote letters. This very document we call the Second Letter to the Corinthians’s is in fact a letter. It’s a long letter, full of instruction, correction and direction, but it’s a letter none the less. So in this third chapter, Paul is talking about letter writing within a letter.

What does he say? He asks a rhetorical question, “Do we need letters of recommendation to or from you?” Paul was thinking about the validation of his work and ministry and whether or not he needed to “commend” himself. No, Paul writes, the only letters he needed were those people reading this very letter, for the letter of God was written upon their hearts. He calls them in so many words ‘living letters.’ Paul affirms these Corinthians are “letters from Christ, written not with ink, but on human hearts.”

What does it mean for us to be living letters? We are living letters if we have heard and received the Gospel for ourselves. If we have claimed to be witnesses to Christ, knowing the full power of his redemption, then we are to be letters to others telling them about the message of the Cross.

Letters are meant to be read, that is their purpose. In the same way, we are meant to be read, reread, examined and shared just as this letter to the Corinthians has been shared over the years, read trillions of time by God’s Holy people and for the salvation of the world.

What kind of letter are you? How is your witness? How is the Word of God that resides upon your heart? Make a decision to put Jesus Christ first. Chase after him. Call upon his name. Allow Christ to redeem you so that your letter might be read and lead others to the Cross.

“O Lord God, sometimes I am a good, healthy, happy, holy letter. And sometimes I am not. Help me be a letter of your grace that is written upon my heart with your Holy Spirit. Fill me with your power and love. I praise you Lord for saving me. Thank you for loving me in a way that I could never love others. I trust you and glorify your holy name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen