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Paul's commission as an apostle

1ARE we beginning all over again to produce our credentials? Do we, like some people, need letters of introduction to you, or from you?

2No, you are all the letter we need, a letter written on our heart; anyone can see it for what it is and read it for himself.

3And as for you, it is plain that you are a letter that has come from Christ, given to us to deliver; a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, written not on stone tablets but on the pages of the human heart.

4It is in full reliance upon God, through Christ, that we make such claims.

5There is no question of our having sufficient power in ourselves: we cannot claim anything as our own. The power we have comes from God;

6it is he who has empowered us as ministers of a new covenant, not written but spiritual; for the written law condemns to death, but the Spirit gives life.

7The ministry that brought death, and that was engraved in written form on stone, was inaugurated with such glory that the Israelites could not keep their eyes on Moses, even though the glory on his face was soon to fade.

8How much greater, then, must be the glory of the ministry of the Spirit!

9If glory accompanied the ministry that brought condemnation, how much richer in glory must be the ministry that brings acquittal!

10Indeed, the glory that once was is now no glory at all; it is outshone by a still greater glory.

11For if what was to fade away had its glory, how much greater is the glory of what endures!

12With such a hope as this we speak out boldly;

13it is not for us to do as Moses did: he put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at the end of what was fading away.

14In any case their minds had become closed, for that same veil is there to this very day when the lesson is read from the old covenant; and it is never lifted, because only in Christ is it taken away.

15Indeed to this very day, every time the law of Moses is read, a veil lies over the mind of the hearer.

16But (as scripture says) “Whenever he turns to the Lord the veil is removed.”

17Now the Lord of whom this passage speaks is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18And because for us there is no veil over the face, we all see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and we are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, through the power of the Lord who is the Spirit.

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