Job 33 & 2 Corinthians 3

Job 33

    “But now, hear my speech, O Job,
        and listen to all my words.
    Behold, I open my mouth;
        the tongue in my mouth speaks.
    My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
        and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
    The Spirit of God has made me,
        and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
    Answer me, if you can;
        set your words in order before me; take your stand.
    Behold, I am toward God as you are;
        I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
    Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
        my pressure will not be heavy upon you.
    “Surely you have spoken in my ears,
        and I have heard the sound of your words.
    You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression;
        I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
    Behold, he finds occasions against me,
        he counts me as his enemy,
    he puts my feet in the stocks
        and watches all my paths.’
    “Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you,
        for God is greater than man.
    Why do you contend against him,
        saying, ‘He will answer none of man's words’?
    For God speaks in one way,
        and in two, though man does not perceive it.
    In a dream, in a vision of the night,
        when deep sleep falls on men,
        while they slumber on their beds,
    then he opens the ears of men
        and terrifies them with warnings,
    that he may turn man aside from his deed
        and conceal pride from a man;
    he keeps back his soul from the pit,
        his life from perishing by the sword.
    “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
        and with continual strife in his bones,
    so that his life loathes bread,
        and his appetite the choicest food.
    His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
        and his bones that were not seen stick out.
    His soul draws near the pit,
        and his life to those who bring death.
    If there be for him an angel,
        a mediator, one of the thousand,
        to declare to man what is right for him,
    and he is merciful to him, and says,
        ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
        I have found a ransom;
    let his flesh become fresh with youth;
        let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
    then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
        he sees his face with a shout of joy,
    and he restores to man his righteousness.
        He sings before men and says:
    ‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
        and it was not repaid to me.
    He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
        and my life shall look upon the light.’
    “Behold, God does all these things,
        twice, three times, with a man,
    to bring back his soul from the pit,
        that he may be lighted with the light of life.
    Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
        be silent, and I will speak.
    If you have any words, answer me;
        speak, for I desire to justify you.
    If not, listen to me;
        be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

(Job 33 ESV)

2 Corinthians 3

    Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And 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.

    Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

    Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But 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. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 3 ESV)

2 Corinthians 3: Our sufficiency as servants of God rests in God’s power to transform us into sufficient servants. Just as Moses was made sufficient to be the mediator of the Law at the burning bush, the apostle Paul declares that he was made sufficient to be the mediator of the Gospel on the road to Damascus. Both encountered the presence of God, and both were afterwards equipped as God’s ministers of His covenant. Like Moses who mediated the letter of the Law in the Old Covenant, Paul now mediates the power of the Spirit in the New Covenant.

The glory of Paul’s ministry is that the power of the Spirit now consumes the old letter of the Law creating a new people who keep God’s covenant through faith in Christ. 

The letter of the Law “kills” because it declares the will of God without granting His people the power needed to live in accordance with His will. This is a “ministry of death” because it is a ministry that brings people under the punishment of sin and God’s judgement against it.

However, the power of the Spirit “gives life” because it transforms the hearts of men granting them the power needed to live in accordance with the will of God. The glory of the “ministry of condemnation” has now been consumed by the far greater glory of the “ministry of righteousness”. We who have faith in Christ and therefore who possess the power of the Holy Spirit can rejoice in the hope that we are being transformed into the glorious image of God through the righteousness that He has given us.