The other day, a friend and I were discussing how the old and new testaments relate to each other. Specifically dealing with the law and how it should be understood with grace. Which is so awesome because I've been reading 2 Corinthians lately and Paul addresses this very issue in chapter 3! I love when God does stuff like that!
In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Paul discusses the glory of the new covenant of grace.
7 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 of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
We know that through the law, we are aware of our sin and death (Rom 3:20) and that through grace we have eternal life (Rom 5:17;20-21). So then Paul argues if there is glory in what brought us death, how much more glory is there in what brings us life!
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul describes some of the deficiencies of the Law:
- The law cannot justify the lost (2:16)
- The law cannot give a sinner righteousness (2:21)
- The law cannot give the Holy Spirit (3:2)
- The law cannot give an inheritance (3:18)
- The law cannot give life (3:21)
- The law cannot give freedom (4:8-10)
Grace is what its all about people! I love the picture of grace Paul paints in Ephesians 2:4-5 "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you are saved". Through the law we are dead but through grace we are alive! The glory of the law is to show us our death and separation from God and our desperate need for a Savior.
The glory of the "ministry that brings death" is that it continues to show us our need for Jesus.
Jesus, we need you more than we need air. Thank you Father for giving us the law and showing us our death apart from you. Most of all we thank you for grace. Jesus, thank you for the cross and the grace that you give us. Help us to walk daily in your grace. We need you more and more every day.