Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Jeremiah 31:31-34, 1 John 3:2
As someone whose greatest love language is words of affirmation, handwritten letters are a huge deal to me. My mom put a note in my lunchbox every day when I was growing up. My friends and family wrote letters to me before I left to study abroad for a semester. And my best friend knows that the quickest way to brighten my day is a quick note delivered with a fresh cup of coffee. I keep a box of letters from loved ones on my desk to read when I’m having a hard day. They have brought me encouragement in my darkest moments, reminding me that I am loved and cherished.
In the days of the early Church, letters served an even greater purpose than they do now. Letters functioned similarly to recommendation letters written for employment or educational purposes; they were vouchers for people when they entered into new churches and new communities.
When I was applying for graduate school last spring, I toiled over choosing the professors and mentors who I would ask to write my recommendation letters. I wanted to make sure they had the best impression of me. I wanted to be confident I was worthy of their recommendation, that the letters they sent to admissions offices would include the best version of me I could present. And so I sent those professors my most stacked resume and the best version of my application essays. In short, I wanted to prove I was good enough—both to the people writing my recommendation letters, and to the people who would read them.
When Paul tells the Corinthians that they are Christ’s living letters, he’s reminding them of their identity as the people of God. He’s reminding them of who they are, of their identity as the body of Christ. He’s reminding them that the Spirit of God has written the law of love on their hearts, doing away with the old covenant and making way for a brand new one: the covenant they can be part of because of Christ Jesus. Our recommendations and our accolades don’t hold any weight in the new covenant because “our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Our worth and our confidence are in Christ Jesus—not in ourselves, nor in the things that are praised by others.
We, too, are able to be a part of this new covenant—the covenant that replaced the law of Moses and gave us the ability to act in boldness. This covenant gives us life, hope, and freedom.
Ellen Taylor was born and raised in sweet home Alabama, but has called Nashville home since 2013. When she’s not working as the editorial assistant at She Reads Truth, you can find her enjoying good food and good conversation with her friends and family. She is a lover of iced coffee, ugly dogs, and the Oxford comma.