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Living Letters

Read: 2 Corinthians 3:1-11

You are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit. (v. 3)

As a pastor, I occasionally write letters of recommendation. A high school senior might request a recommendation for a scholarship application. A job seeker may need a character reference. I am always happy to oblige. However, I wonder if I recognize, even more than the applicant, that they’re entrusting me with their image and reputation.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul makes an astounding assertion: the Lord Jesus Christ has placed his image and reputation in the hands of every Christian. We are “living letters” of recommendation for Jesus and for his body, the church. Each of our lives delivers a message about who Jesus is and what Jesus offers. Paul says that there are two kinds of letters. The first, God’s law, is written on stone. Taken on its own, the law can only accuse. When the world sees in us nothing but rigid obedience to religious rules and rituals, they do not see life. They see condemnation without a cure.

But we are the second kind of letter: written on human hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we believe in Jesus, we receive his Spirit. The Holy Spirit imprints us with Christ’s character and compassion. Our lives begin to radiate the Savior’s grace and glory. John wrote, “This is how love is made complete among us . . . in this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17 NIV).

The same Spirit who claims us for Christ makes us competent to serve as his “living letters.”

As you pray, ask the Spirit to make you more like Christ.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 4 of 15 in the series 2 Corinthians: Shining through the Cracks