The Superiority of New Covenant Ministry
Pastor Tom Ascol resumes his series on 2 Corinthians with a message based on Chapter 3, verses 7-18 entitled “The Superiority of the New Covenant Ministry.” This passage teaches that left to ourselves, even our best efforts to understand and apply spiritual truths will be futile. There are spiritual barriers preventing the clear proclamation and understanding of truth that only the Holy Spirit’s work can overcome. Therefore, the Bible teaches that the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant and, consequently, ministry under the New Covenant surpasses ministry under the Old.
Paul uses an a priori (from lesser to greater) logical argument to point his readers to this conclusion. There are two parts to his argument. First, a New Covenant Ministry is greater in glory. The Law, received by Moses, was the basis for the Old Covenant. It was glorious for it reflected God’s order for man’s life. However, it resulted in death for we broken creatures all are incapable of living up to the requirements of the Law. As Ezekiel wrote, “the one who sins shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:20), so it is plain the 10 Commandments cannot provide a way to life. The New Covenant, on the other hand, is more glorious because it provides a way to life. In the New Covenant there is a way to righteousness rather than to condemnation and death. That righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ applied to us as our sins were applied to Him. The third reason why New Covenant ministry is superior is that it is permanent as opposed to temporary. The Old Covenant was never meant to be permanent but was designed to show man his need of a Savior. The New Covenant surpasses the Old because it remains forever.
The second part to Paul’s argument is that New Covenant ministry is greater in its effect. It gives us boldness. Knowing Christ and being justified gives a confidence not available under the old scheme. There exists now the full and final revelation of Jesus Christ! Furthermore, the New Covenant provides an unveiling. Sinful hearts suffer from a veil prohibiting spiritual understanding but in Christ the veil is taken away. Next, since it is Spirit-based and Spirit-empowered, New Covenant ministry gives freedom, freedom to be authentic and to live in obedience. Finally, this ministry results in transformation. We all are becoming more Crist-like as we both obey and are transformed by the Spirit of God.
Of course, all of the advantages of New Covenant ministry and life are available to those who have entered into this new covenant. Those outside of Christ, without the aid of the Spirit, cannot see the fullness of life available. Yet it may be, if you have not yet come to the Lord, that the Spirit is working in your life even as you read this. Come to God in the manner He provided, through faith in the Savior Jesus Christ.