- Paul wrote several epistles, or letters,
that are a part of the New testament. Peter wrote a couple as well. John
But how many epistles did Jesus write? Would you be surprised to know that
He did write some epistles? How about this: He is still writing epistles
even today! Would you like to read one?
Wait a minute! What about the idea that the faith was “once for all
delivered” and other passages that suggest the Lord's written revelation was
complete (Jude 3) and the promise that everything the Lord had to reveal to
the world would be revealed during the lifetimes of the apostles (John
14:26). How can it be that Jesus is still “writing letters” today long after
this? And where are these letters so we can read them?
Think of the faithful Christians you know. The letters that Jesus is writing
today are not written with pen and ink, as is the case with the New
Testament. Neither are they revelations of new truths, but rather modern
illustrations and explanations of what was written back in the first
century. With these epistles that Jesus is writing, instead of paper He uses
the life of the Christian, the ink is the deeds and words of that faithful
Christian, and the plot is the will of the Lord applied to the daily life of
the faithful. Consider: as a disciple you are a letter of Christ to the
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being
manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for 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 confidence we have through Christ toward
God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming
from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God…” (2 Corinthians 3:2-5).
Read by All (vs. 2)
The lives of God's people ought to say something distinctive to the world.
This has always been the case (Isaiah 43:10-13). This means that we live by
a different standard - God's. We seek to live righteously, pleasing the Lord
in all circumstances. We cannot be God's witnesses if we do not live
according to His will. The atheistic German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche
issued this challenge; He said, “Show me that you are redeemed and then I
will believe in your redeemer.” I doubt that it would have really made much
of a difference to him, but he did have a point.
Faithful disciples are true to Him in good times and evil. Every day
presents its challenges; will I be spoiled, neglectful and casual in good
days? Will I be fearful, distrustful, disloyal on evil days? As a child of
God, your life is supposed to give witness to the world that God is real,
that He has effected your life favorably, and that He is the true and living
God who can be trusted and who gives peace and confidence. God has said, "I,
even I, am the Lord; And there is no savior besides Me.” (Isaiah 43:11).
Lights only shine forth in the darkness if they are in bright contrast with
that darkness. Sometimes this will cause the child of God to be subject to
ridicule (Matthew 5:11,12). But at the same time, there will be a vivid
testimony for all who take time to notice (Matthew 5:16).
There is no way to be a readable letter of Christ, a witness of God, a light
shining forth in the darkness, without obeying Jesus and holding fast His
word (Philippians 2:12-16).
As letters of Christ, we need to be readable. That means:
1. Avoiding Blurry Ink - Indecipherable or faded print caused by fuzzy
living, ill defined priorities and goals - compromise and failure to take a
stand; timidity. Desire to please man rather than God
2. Avoiding Misprints - Taking false stands. Doctrinally and/or morally.
(John 14:6) - Jesus is the only way to God. - A misprint might say
Written With the Spirit of the
Living God (vs. 3)
How does one become a letter of Christ written with the Spirit? This occurs
when the Spirit's revelation is permitted to write our lives as we obey Him
(Galatians 5:22-24). The Spirit bears witness (Romans 8:16,17). This witness
is heard and seen in one who is being led by the Spirit. How so? This all
has to do with how we are living our lives (Romans 8:12-14) !
Where does the Spirit write? On the heart!
Contrasted with writing on the tablets of stone - that writing revealed us
as condemned sinners. This was necessary, but did not fulfill our need for a
Redeemer (see the context of 2 Corinthians 3:6-ff; especially vss. 7-9; also
Romans 8:1; Galatians 3:19; 24-27).. In Christ, that need for a Redeemer is
fulfilled. Is your life a letter written by the Spirit on the tablet of your
A Source of Confidence (vs. 4)
Being a well written epistle of Christ is a source of confidence that by
God's grace we are able to succeed in “the day of Christ” - i.e His second
coming. What is involved in this success on that day ? Continuing to grow
and abounding more and more (Philippians 1:9-11) To grow in our love,
knowledge and discernment; to approve excellent things; to have sincerity,
to be blameless; to be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
This confidence is a source of strength (Philippians 4:13). It shows itself
in a living faith in the power of God and it directly effects our behavior,
helping us to maintain righteousness even in the face of opposition (2
Our Adequacy is From God (vs. 5)
I am adequate to the task because of God's grace and power. Remember Paul:
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” He would speak of
“Christ in Me” (Galatians 2:20) explaining that while the confidence was
his, the power is God's (2 Corinthians 4:7).
This mindset will make one strong! Total surrender and dependence on God
taps in on the power of God. Where we are inadequate, God's power takes over
and supplies our needs by His grace through our faith. Recognizing this
causes us to think of ourselves as being rich, though we know it is by God's
doing, our rich blessings come from Him and we are not boastful as though it
was of us (1 Corinthians 4:6,7). We simply know that by faith in our
powerful God we will not fail.
The letters that Jesus is writing today are not written with pen and ink, as
is the case with the New Testament. Neither are they revelations of new
truths, but rather modern illustrations and explanations of what was written
back in the first century. The paper is the life of the Christian, the ink
is the deeds and words of that faithful Christian, and the plot is the will
of the Lord applied to the daily life of the faithful. God bless every
disciple to be a clear witness to God's power!
From The Bradley Banner 3/25/2007
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915