|2 Corinthians 3:6 |
6 Who has made us able ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter [the Bible], but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.1 [The letter is the Bible and the law. Little by little each spoken word from His Spirit that you hear is engrafted into your heart and imparts the life of God to you making you a little more pure.]
1 Who has made us able ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter [the Bible], but of the Spirit.
Paul was not a minister of the Letter [the Bible], but of the Spirit. Ministers of the Letter read and quote the Bible, expressing their opinions as to what it all means. They speak from their carnal minds, the nature of death, and preach their opinions from the vain imaginations of their evil hearts. But a minister of the Spirit speaks words learned from the Spirit. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Even Jesus did not judge, speak, or act without the Spirit's specific prompting. Jesus said:
- Of my own self, I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, John 5:30
- For I do not speak from myself [not my own words], but the Father, who sent me, himself commands me what I should say and what I should speak.
And I know that [to obey] his command is life everlasting. Therefore, whatever I speak is just as the Father tells me to speak. John 12:49-50
- The Son is can do nothing of Himself [by his own will], but only does what he sees the Father do. John 5:19
- He who speaks from himself [speaking his own words] seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18
Jesus said that a man who preaches from his own mind seeks his own glory. A minster of the letter seeks your money, your admiration, and your subjection to his authority. The preachers of Christendom stand condemned for seeking their own glory and then accepting pay for their worthless words; when to even charge for true words of life like Balaam, spoken from the spirit of God, is expressly forbidden by Peter and Jesus. Seeking their own glory, the preachers of Christendom speak from their carnal minds, the nature of death, and preach their opinions from the vain imaginations of their evil hearts.
Your preacher can have memorized the whole Bible, but he cannot pass on life or spiritual growth to you. Only words heard, as spoken by the Spirit, will give life.
When the Spirit communicates to a man, the Spirit has access to every experience, every sight, every sound, every word, every thought, every feeling that man has had in his life; and the Spirit uses those experiences to illustrate its teachings. Plus the Spirit is aware of every man's language, dialect, and understanding of vocabulary; so the Spirit speaks to a man in precisely understandable language tailored exactly for that man. And the Spirit speaks with inflections of love, kindness, firmness, etc. There is no comparison between reading the Bible, however wonderful it is, and hearing the infinite wisdom of God expressed to you in language, often accompanied by visions, that communicate precisely and instantly a message, teaching, or command.
The Spirit of God teaches us how to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Realize the world changes, and changes quickly. The Bible does not keep up with those changes, but the Spirit of God does, recognizing all the changes in man's environment and teaching him what to deny and how to live.
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The letter kills.
The letter is the law. The law is what shouts our failures. The law is what condemns us as we walk in our selfish flesh. It tells us we should not want things; not envy; not commit adultery; not lie; to love our neighbor as ourselves; to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and might; honor our parents; etc. And, while we are walking in the flesh, it is impossible to totally comply with that law. The law restricts our flesh; the law does not impart the life of God to us, it only reminds us of our weakness and motivates us to look for change.
And then Christ came and strengthened the law, making it even harder to be obedient. He changed "eye for an eye", to "turn the other cheek; love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you." He made adultery, not just the act, but the thought in the heart. He made murder, not just the act, but the anger and hate in your heart. He told us not to repay injury or insult. He told us we will be judged by every idle [ineffective] word we have ever spoken, Mat 12:36. He told that if someone asked for our coat, to give them our shirt too. He told us to be perfect like our heavenly Father is perfect. He told us to be merciful like the Father is merciful.
But reading all those requirements does not make us able to comply with them; rather it shows us how seriously different we are from what we are called to be. The law kills our self-confidence, by identifying and calling attention to our selfish, evil behaviors, performed by men dead to the life of God. The law cannot impart the Spirit or the life of God to you. It cannot make you capable of loving God with all your heart, or loving your neighbor as yourself, or being prefect; only the Spirit can do any of that. Reading the Bible does not trigger the Spirit to impart the life of God because the words in the Bible, however wonderfully true they are, are not the same as hearing the Spirit speak to you with words of life.
but the Spirit gives life.
If we seek God, we must first suffer the humiliation of our failures to comply with the moral laws, and demonstrate our best efforts to minimize further failures with acts of repentance. As we seek God: waiting on him, watching, and listening, we begin to hear the Voice of the Lord. The first things we hear are words of assurance that he is going to work with us and help us. Then he shows us the secret sins of our heart, most of which we are not even aware, until "he has set all our evil before him, and our secret sins in the light of his countenance." This is the Spirit of grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and how to live godly, soberly, and soberly in this present world. The words He speaks to us that we hear and keep are engrafted into our hearts and impart the life of God to us. The more words we hear and keep or obey, the more life of God we receive — until finally we become like Him, pure, when He has redeemed us from all iniquity and purified for Himself a people who are His very own, zealous for good works, which works are commanded by Him. The words we hear Him speak to us are engrafted into our heart.
The flesh profits nothing. The words I speak to you are Spirit and they are life-giving. John 6:63.
From the Word of the Lord: "The Spirit of Grace both charges and removes, just like Jesus said 'repent,' and also healed. Hear and live; the Spirit gives life with every word heard."