Monday, March 15, 2010

2 Corinthians 3:7-4:6 (Don’t Give Me That Old Time Religion)

From 2:14-3:6 Paul describes the character of professing Christians. Here he speaks of how the Gospel these Christians profess is superior to any religious system man has devised. He calls the one the ministry of righteousness and the other the ministry of death.

The ministry of death that Paul refers to here was the law. Its affects were fading but in full glory could not be faced. In some ways, the law became similar to every other religion in the world. It was based on rules and could not save. That was never its purpose, it was designed to reveal sinfulness, not cure it. While it was given by God through Moses to Israel, it was quickly expanded by men and became an elaborate system with no power.

The ministry of righteousness (the Gospel) on the other hand is forever and brings people directly into God’s glory. It does not fade. It is not a religion, empty and made up by men trying to appease guilt or control behavior. It is the power of God for salvation and is a free gift.

In the days before Christ came everything was qualified and careful. Paul says people can now speak with great boldness. We don’t just have Scripture; we have the Spirit of God working through us. The message we carry has great power.

What people today call “Missional” is proclaiming God’s message plainly, not disguised or in a slick package. We do not attract people with a gimmick and then spring the Gospel on them. We boldly live it out and proclaim it to the world. The message is better than any program or method devised to disseminate it. God’s simple plan—having it spread through natural relational networks—is still the most effective way.

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