3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of recommendation to you or from you as some other people do, do we? 1 2 You yourselves are our letter, 2 written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, 3 revealing 3 that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, 4 written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets 5 but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Now we have such confidence in God through Christ. 5 Not that we are adequate 6 in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy 7 is from God, 6 who made us adequate 8 to be servants of a new covenant 9 not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the ministry that produced death – carved in letters on stone tablets 10 – came with glory, so that the Israelites 11 could not keep their eyes fixed on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face 12 (a glory 13 which was made ineffective), 14 8 how much more glorious will the ministry of the Spirit be? 15 9 For if there was glory in the ministry that produced condemnation, 16 how much more does the ministry that produces righteousness 17 excel 18 in glory! 10 For indeed, what had been glorious now 19 has no glory because of the tremendously greater glory of what replaced it. 20 11 For if what was made ineffective 21 came with 22 glory, how much more has what remains 23 come in glory! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we behave with great boldness, 24 13 and not like Moses who used to put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites 25 from staring 26 at the result 27 of the glory that was made ineffective. 28 14 But their minds were closed. 29 For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. 30 It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. 31 15 But until this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds, 32 16 but when one 33 turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 34 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, 35 there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, 36 are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, 37 which is from 38 the Lord, who is the Spirit. 39
4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, 1 we do not become discouraged. 2 2 But we have rejected 3 shameful hidden deeds, 4 not behaving 5 with deceptiveness 6 or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe 7 so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel 8 of Christ, 9 who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim 10 ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves 11 for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” 12 is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge 13 of God in the face of Christ. 14
7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power 15 belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are experiencing trouble on every side, 16 but are not crushed; we are perplexed, 17 but not driven to despair; 9 we are persecuted, but not abandoned; 18 we are knocked down, 19 but not destroyed, 10 always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, 20 so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 21 in our body. 11 For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible 22 in our mortal body. 23 12 As a result, 24 death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 25 13 But since we have the same spirit of faith as that shown in 26 what has been written, “I believed; therefore I spoke,” 27 we also believe, therefore we also speak. 14 We do so 28 because we know that the one who raised up Jesus 29 will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 For all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including 30 more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase 31 to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not despair, 32 but even if our physical body 33 is wearing away, our inner person 34 is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light suffering 35 is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.