Opening Prayer

Gracious Lord, I turn my thoughts to you and open myself to the Spirit. Speak Lord, as I wait before you.

Read 2 CORINTHIANS 3:1-6

3 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.

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God the Father ‘has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light’.1

Think Further

Qualifications are important. Many have acquired bits of paper that certify they have demonstrated certain levels of knowledge or ability and therefore can be relied upon. There are, equally, many people who have achieved their qualifications in the university of life and probably believe them to be superior!

Paul, among the other things he had to endure, was subject to profound impertinence. He was the founder of the Corinthian church and had every right to believe that ‘in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel’.2 Now he is being asked by somebody (we shall come back to the question of who) to provide letters of recommendation to prove his bona fides (v 1). Should we put up with cheek, or should we name it for what it is? Paul gives the best possible answer, mixed up, again, with some decent theology: the Corinthians themselves were his recommendation. Through his ministry, Christ had become written on their hearts by the Spirit of the living God (note the trinitarian reference).

All this said, Paul introduces here the note of self-deprecation: he has no intention of commending himself since the facts speak for themselves. Anyway, what matters is not what we claim about ourselves but how we stand before God (v 4). If we have the power to accomplish anything for God it is because God has made it so. By grace, God has made him and his co-workers ministers of a new covenant, demonstrably so, one which operates in the life-giving Spirit (v 6). None of this means that qualifications don’t matter – remember that Paul was a highly trained rabbinic scholar (as well as a tent-maker) and had worked hard to acquire the skills.3 Without God’s Spirit, however, this is all letters and not life.


Reflect prayerfully upon your qualifications, gifts, and achievements. Give thanks for what God has given you and offer it back to be filled with the Spirit.

Closing prayer

Mighty God, you can take whatever I offer you and multiply it beyond my wildest dreams. Continue to work your kingdom purposes through me.

Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by kingstar

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