You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. II Corinthians 3:3-6 and 17
God is God, and we are not. Our Pastor repeated this several times during our Bible study today. Like the good teacher he is he explained the phrase, told it as part of a story, and repeated it later in another context.
That message should be clear; God is God, and we are not.
Yet, we also learned we are one in Christ.
These two statements represent an interesting set of competing ideas. On the one hand, we must stop seeing ourselves as God. We must recognize that we cannot be children of the law because Christ is the only one who has kept the law. We have not.
On the other hand, because we are baptized in Christ, we are one with Him. We wear His righteousness as if it is ours – even though we do not earn it, it fits none-the-less. We are one with Christ.
We must remember that any victory, power, or wisdom is of God. We cannot claim this for ourselves because, in comparison to God, we are nothing. We must let go of the need to control, of the need to do, of the need to count victory. These things do not belong to us because we are not God.
Yet, we are of the Spirit, meaning the power at work in us is not our own. God sends His Spirit to accomplish His work in us and through us. With the Spirit, we are everything. This truth should -- ought -- must give us the confidence to do the work set before us. It is not confidence in ourselves. It is confidence in the Spirit written in our hearts. The Spirit gives us life – a life that allows us to be, to do, to count victory – but to know that victory is God’s.
We know the law is written on our hearts, but this passage tells us that ink has been erased and replaced by the Spirit. The law is no longer there as a contract but as a response to the freedom granted by Salvation. We are children of grace. We are God’s, and in Him, we are everything He wants and needs us to be.
Our ministry is God’s ministry. Our work is God’s work. There are no rules or written direction, but there is the ever-abiding work of the Spirit. The burden of the law has been replaced by the Spirit’s freedom to serve.
Weary Joy: The Caregiver's Journeyby Kim Marxhausen
available at Concordia Publishing Houseand Amazon