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Written on the Heart

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. 2 Corinthians 3:3

When God gave the law, He wrote it on tables of stone, and those tables were placed in the ark of the covenant. Even though the Israelites could read the two tables, this experience did not change their lives. The law is an external thing, and people need an internal power if their lives are to be transformed. Legalists can admonish us with "Do this!" or "Don't do that!" But they cannot give us the power to obey. If we do obey, often it is not from the heart--and we end up worse than we were before!

The ministry of grace changes the heart. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and writes it on the heart. The Corinthians were wicked sinners when Paul came to them, but his ministry of the gospel of God's grace completely changed their lives (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Their experience of God's grace certainly meant more to them than the letters of commendation carried by the false teachers. The Corinthian believers were lovingly written on Paul's heart, and the Spirit of God had written the truth on their hearts, making them "living epistles of Christ."

The test of ministry is changed lives, not press releases or statistics. It is much easier for legalists to boast, because they can "measure" their ministry by external standards. Believers who patiently minister by the Spirit of God must leave the results with the Lord. How tragic that the Corinthians followed the boastful Judaizers and broke the heart of the apostle who had rescued them from judgment.

Applying God's Truth:

  1. Since you are a "letter from Christ," what would you say is the message that is written on the tablet of your human heart?

  2. Can you think of any "external" religious rules you follow because of obligation rather than genuine gratitude or worship?

  3. In what way(s) do you attempt to measure your ministry as a Christian?

Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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