Open Your Bible
2 Corinthians 3:1-18, Jeremiah 31:31-34, 1 John 3:2
BY Guest Writer
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.
47 thoughts on "Living Letters"
Jesus, You are my covenant and I thank You for freeing me.
I’m in law school, where my worth feels like it comes from my academic successes in relation to my peers. This could not be more timely. I’m so glad that I read this today instead of last month, because I needed this right now.
So many things to be thankful for with the new covenant! Thank you Jesus!
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are Christ’s letter, delivered by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God — not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – I honestly don’t ever think I have heard this before, or if I did, I quickly passed over it. I teach English and like to write so this metaphor touched me deeply. Remember that church-y saying, “You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.” That’s what I think of when I read this.
Verse 18 really struck me today “(we) are being transformed into the same image (the glory of the Lord) from glory to glory.” Being transformed. A process, we are not there yet. Praise Jesus for His patience and that the transformation is happening as we seek him.
I rarely ask for prayers but there is a girl in my town who had a double lung transplant one year ago. She’s since caught the flu and many many other viruses and her body has started to reject her new lungs that God gave her. Her doctors can’t give her any medicine for her newest infection and they don’t know if she will make it out alive this time. Please pray for her and her family and friends as they transition through this time. She has been so faithful and ever praising to God even in her situation and I know God has planned to use her to spread His love.
I work in a corporate world. I work as hard as I can and a lot of the time put work in front of my family. I have a peer who lies on me to make herself look good and it bares on me so hard because I feel it makes me look bad when I am trying to grow my career there and I want to look good to leadership. But I know I am different called to be like Christ and to swallow my pride and trust him with my career. This is so hard, please pray and I try to fight this anxiety that try’s to creep in.
Ashley – I completely understand your struggles. I work in academia and hope to transition to becoming a professor soon, so I too am putting in a lot of time at work when I could be with family and friends. My boss is callous and hurtful, and does not foster an environment that makes it easy for me to grow as a researcher. When my circumstances have me down, I have to remember that I am set aside for a higher calling and that God has my life under control. I will pray that you and I can both experience continual peace of mind that our life is more than our career, and that we belong to Jesus no matter what.
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