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word of God a matter of dollars and cents. On the contrary, as those who are sincere, as those who are sent from God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Are we again beginning to recommend ourselves? Surely we are not as some who need letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by everybody. For it is plain that you are Christ's letter, written with us as his amanuensis, written, though, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, and that, too, not on tables of stone, but on human hearts.
Such, then, is the confidence which we have towards God through Christ. Not that of ourselves we are qualified to pass any judgment as of our own authority. On the contrary, our qualification is from God, who also qualified us to become servants of a new agreement, not of the Law, but of the Spirit. For the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
But if the dispensation, which was engraved in a written formula on stones, and could only pronounce death, began in such splendor, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brightness, and that was pass
2 COR. 3:8.
COMMUNICATION OF THE SPIRIT.
ing away, how much more splendid will the dispensation of the Spirit be? For if the dispensation which brought condemnation began in splendor, much more splendid by far will the dispensation which sets men right with God be. Yes, the splendor of that dispensation has paled before the surpassing splendor of the present. For if what is passing away came through splendor, much more splendid will the dispensation which is to last be.
So, since we have such a hope, we speak very plainly, and do not do as Moses did when he used to put a veil on his face so that the children of Israel might not see the end of what was passing away. Yes, and their minds became dense. For to this very day, at the reading of the Old Agreement, the same veil remains unlifted. For in Christ alone is it done away.
Yet to this day, whenever the Books of Moses are read, a veil lies on their hearts. But whenever any of them turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, looking at the splendor of the Lord as in a mirror from which it is dimly reflected, are being changed into the same likeness from one degree of splendor to another, as it comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
For this reason, and because we are holding our
office by God's mercy, we do not lose courage. Oni the contrary, we have given up those things which shame conceals, not resorting to crafty devices, nor tampering with God's word. Yes, it is by bringing the truth clearly to light we are commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. So even if the Good News, as we tell it, is veiled, it is veiled only by the things which are perishing. And, as for them, the god of this world has blinded their minds, because they will not believe, so that what the Good News tells us of the light of the splendor of Christ, who is the likeness of God, might not dawn on them. For it is not ourselves we are proclaiming, but Christ Jesus, as Lord, and ourselves, as your slaves, for Jesus' sake. For it is God who said : “Out of darkness light shall shine." And it was he who shone in our hearts so that we might bring to light the knowledge of the majesty of God as it shines in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in bodies of clay, so that the vastness of its power may be seen to be from God and not to be due to us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not completely shut in ; perplexed, yet not in despair ; pursued, yet not abandoned; struck down, yet not killed ; always carrying about on our bodies the marks of a death
2 Cor. 4: 10.
TRUE AND GENUINE.
like that of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be plainly seen on our bodies. For we who are alive are always being handed over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life also of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal nature. So, then, death is working in us, but life in you. But with the same spirit of faith as that expressed in the Scripture:
I believed, and that is why I spoke. We also believe, and that is why we speak. For we know that he who raised the Lord Jesus, will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.
For everything is for your sakes, so that, as God's favor has abounded by means of the many,
it may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
For this reason we do not lose courage. For even if what is outward in our nature keeps decaying, what is inward is being renewed day by day. For our slight and transitory trouble is working out for us, to an immeasurable extent, a vast and transcendent blessedness. For we are not giving our attention to what is seen, but to what is unseen. For what is seen is for a time only, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, our body, which as a tent we are now occupying, should be torn down, we have a building which came from God, a house not made with
hands, eternal, in the heavens. For, beside this, while we are in the present body, we keep sighing, longing to put on our dwelling which is to come from heaven. For we believe that when we have thus put it on, we shall not be found naked. And further, we, who are in this tent of the body, keep sighing under our burden, not because we wish to take it off, but because we wish to put on the other over it, so that the mortal may be swallowed up by life.
He, who prepared us for this, is God, and he also gave us his Spirit as a pledge of it.
So I always have courage and know that while I am at home in the body, I am away
home with the Lord. For we guide our actions by faith, not by what we see. We have courage, I say, and we prefer to leave our home in the body, and to make our home with the Lord. And so, whether we are at home, or away from home, we aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the consequences of his life in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
So, knowing what the fear of the Lord means, we are trying to win men ; but God has thoroughly understood us froin the first, and I hope that you, also, in your hearts, have thoroughly understood us.