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Ministry of the Spirit

By Larry R. Lasiter

© 2010

"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, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?" 2 Corinthians 3:7-8

 The Apostles were sent forth from Christ with the Gospel of a new Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit - and not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts written by the Spirit of God.

The Sinai Covenant ratified with the children of Israel was the ministry of death mentioned here in our text. In verse 9 the Old Covenant including the letters engraved in stones is referred to as the ministry of condemnation.

You might wonder how this could be since the Ten Commandments were and are holy, reveal Godís standard, and teach us how He wants us to live? Notice also that this same Apostle in his first letter to this Church said, -"What matters is keeping the Commandments of God." (1 Cor.7)

 The Bible defines sin as the transgression of the Law, and since we have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God we all stand condemned. This is where the new Covenant, the ministry of the Spirit comes to the rescue, -"The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (vs.6)

Paul went on to explain that the Lord Himself is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. And this is why Jesus told Nicodemis, who by genealogy was born under the Sinai Covenant, that he must be born again of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.

The Commandments can teach us what sin is but they cannot save us from the sins we commit - the letter condemns and kills because the penalty for sin is death.

The Israelites were actually offered the Covenant of the Spirit at Sinai which would have made them a whole nation of priests,- "If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My Covenant. . .then you will be to Me a kingdom of priests." (Ex.19) But because of fear they backed away from Godís presence and chose Moses to intercede for them, -"Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." (Ex.20)

God would have written His Commandments into their hearts and given them the Holy Spirit to magnify their intent and empower them to walk in them. The ministry of the Spirit would have also brought them under the grace of God where their sins would have been forgiven.

As a result God gave them the letter of the Law and eventually added more than six hundred laws because of transgressions. (Gal.3) But Godís Laws are Spiritually discerned, and no one can truly obey them without being led by the Holy Spirit, which is "the Lord" Himself. (2 Cor.3:17)

 In Matthew 5 Jesus said, -"Never imagine that I have come to destroy the Law. . .I have come to fulfill, and until heaven and earth pass away not one comma shall pass from the Law."

Later in the same message Jesus quoted two of the Commandments in the letter, but then magnified the Spiritual intent by saying that "to hate someone" is murder and to lust is adultery.

Only the ministry of the Spirit can reveal the meaning of the letter by removing the veil. And only the ministry of the Spirit can put the life of Christ in us and bring us into grace. "But we all. . .are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Cor.3:18)

 

 

 

Points of Truth Ministries