2 Corinthians 3:7-11
But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious…
I. THAT CONTRASTED WITH THE LAW AS "THE MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION" THE GOSPEL IS THE "MINISTRATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS." That the law was "the ministration of condemnation" will require little proof. The very glory which attended the publication of it struck terror into the beholders. Its unequivocal language was, "the soul that sinneth it shall die" (Exodus 19:16; Hebrews 12:21; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Deuteronomy 27:28; Galatians 3:10). Against this awful alternative the Mosaic dispensation provided no effectual resource (Hebrews 10:4). But herein is the incomparable glory of the gospel displayed: it is, "the ministration of righteousness." Not as some have most erroneously represented it, a remedial law; neither as others would call it, a less rigorous dispensation, relaxing our obligations to duty. And hence we are led to notice what may be regarded as the peculiar glory of the gospel, that it discovers to us a way in which sin may be pardoned, and yet sinners be saved. The gospel alone reveals a righteousness sufficient for this purpose. The gospel is also the ministration of righteousness, because it enjoins and secures the practice of righteousness among men.
II. THAT CONTRASTED WITH THE LAW AS THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH, THE GOSPEL IS THE MINISTRATION OF THE SPIRIT. The Christian as contrasted with the Jewish dispensation may be called the "ministration of the Spirit," not only on account of its more spiritual nature, and as containing the spirit and substance of ancient rites and figures, but chiefly because it is distinguished by the clearer revelation of the Divine Spirit, and the more abundant communications of His influence to the children of men. Let us, then, attend to the surpassing glory of the gospel in this view. We have already seen that the law, which is the ministration of death, made no effectual provision for the justification of transgressors; and as little did it provide for their sanctification. All precepts, and threatenings, and promises, were insufficient for this purpose, without the quickening and renewing influence of the Holy Ghost. How refulgent, then, the glory of the gospel, when we consider that the Spirit, of whom it testifies, is Himself the eternal Jehovah! Under the ministration of the Spirit, how marvellous the success which attended the preaching of the apostles, amidst the combined opposition of earth and hell! Still farther, under the ministration of the Spirit the Church has been preserved in succeeding ages, since the apostles' days to the present time. Finally, under the ministration of the Spirit, and by His benign influence, the Church throughout succeeding generations shall become gradually more enlightened, and sanctified, and enlarged. Is such, then, the glory of the gospel?
1. What an unspeakable honour is conferred upon those who are allowed to be the ministers of it!
2. Again, is such the glory of the gospel; how inestimable is your privilege? The Lord has not dealt so with every people. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear, what many prophets and righteous men desired to see and to hear but were not permitted.
3. Still farther, is such the glory of the gospel? Let its ministers learn to be more and more faithful and earnest in declaring and recommending it.
4. Let me beseech you who attend on our ministrations to consider, that in proportion to the glory of the gospel must be the condemnation of those who do not esteem and improve it.
5. Once more, is the gospel the ministration of the Spirit? Let us all be solicitous to experience His saving influence on our own souls; and let us be earnest also for the communications of His grace to others.
Parallel VersesKJV: But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
WEB: But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away: