“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”
— 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NRSV)
According to the apostle Paul, and really anyone that advocates for the New Covenant in Christ, commends us to be ministers of the New Covenant.
We have not a letter as a commendation—under Moses, the Law—but we have the Spirit. We have no external motive—to obey a law—but we are internally and intrinsically motivated to love God because God first loved us and has begotten us.
A letter, as if scribed on tablets, and given to the people of God, has the power of death about it, but the Spirit, which makes its home in our hearts, has the resonating power of life.
The letter condemns us, but the Spirit commends us.
Power for Death and Power for Life
The letter is the Old Covenant—the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments.
The Spirit is the New Covenant—the law of God’s love written on believers’ hearts.
We tell our children what to do and they go away and disobey. But when we show our children why they must do a thing, and they adopt our philosophy, they obey because they want to. They have been won to love.
The power for death, the Old Covenant power, is no good to any of us; it includes legalistic thinking, premature judgments, trying to live a godly life, and being surrendered to rules.
The power for life, the New Covenant power, is good to the last point. Enfolded in grace, with no effort in sight, we strive to be surrendered to the Lord alone. And such a surrender is our God-bidden joy. We love the fact we are freed from rules, but we need to be constantly reminded of the freedom we have, because legalism is everywhere. Especially in religious circles, legalism is rife. We must do what we can to negate its power, for it is the power of death.
Under this New Covenant power we are being transformed from Glory to Glory, as we reflect our Lord whose image we see as if reflected from a mirror; as we fix our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith—the Lord Jesus.
This is our confidence. Nothing of ourselves brings about this glorious joy. Simply the thought of being transformed more in the likeness of Christ is bliss. Suddenly all this religious talk makes sense as we experience power for life in our everyday lives.
The freedom we have in following Christ is symbolised by the Spirit that lives within us, transforming us from Glory yesterday to Glory today to Glory tomorrow, and forever to come.
In Christ, we have been freed from the power of death to enjoy the New Covenant power for life. Effort to obey the law is replaced with the freedom to love by the enduring power of grace—the Spirit written on our hearts.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.