1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts, to be known and read by all men; 3and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendour that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendour? 9For if there was splendour in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendour. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had splendour has come to have no splendour at all, because of the splendour that surpasses it. 11For if what faded away came with splendour, what is permanent must have much more splendour.
12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendour. 14But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
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