Saturday, May 1, 2010

Salvation By Grace, Not Personal Merit: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Text: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Theme: Glory in Christ, not the flesh.

1. By enduring weakness (1-5)
     E. Suffering magnifies God's adequacy (2:12 - 5)

In contrast to false teachers who boasted letters of commendation and taught a false gospel of salvation by personal merit, Paul preached salvation through faith in God's grace.  False teacher's commendation comes only through letters from men.  Paul's came from God, as seen in the Corinthian's changed lives (1-4).  His ministry was based on the New Covenant in Christ; theirs on the Old Covenant of the Law. Since God gave Law to show man he cannot meet God's standards, deserves death, and needs a substitute sin bearer (Christ), the "letter" of the false teacher's ministry, written on tablets of stone, killed (cf. Romans 7). On the other hand, Paul's ministry, based on the Spirit, and written in the hearts of believers, resulted in eternal life. False teacher's ministry of the OT Law results in condemnation, but the NT ministry of the Spirit results in righteousness (9). 

The glory of the OT Law was such that the people could not look intently on Moses' face. Nevertheless, he veiled it from the people, because the glory faded. Those who seek salvation through their own adequacy, by trying to keep the OT Law, remain "veiled" to God's glory, as they did in the day of Moses. By contrast, the surpassing glory of the ministry of the Spirit is such that believers, with an unveiled face, increasingly behold and are transformed by the glory of Christ (18). 

The ministry which acknowledges man's weakness and inability to save himself is the one which results in salvation, and magnifies God's adequacy.

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The Gospel


Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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