1 Am I falling into self-recommendation again? Do I, like some people, need letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You are my recommendations, written on my heart, for everybody to read and understand. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by me, written not in ink, but in the Spirit of the living God, and not on tablets of stone, but on the human heart.
4 Such is the confidence that I have through Christ in my relations to God. 5 Not that I am of myself qualified to claim anything as originating with me. My qualification is from God, 6 and he has qualified me to serve him in the interests of a new agreement, not in writing but of spirit. For what is written kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the religion of death, carved in letters of stone, was ushered in with such splendor, so that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face on account of the brightness that was fading from it, 8 why should not the religion of the Spirit be attended with much greater splendor? 9 If there was splendor in the religion of condemnation, the religion of uprightness must far surpass it in splendor. 10 For in comparison with its surpassing splendor, what was splendid has come to have no splendor at all. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, how much more splendid what is permanent must be!
12 So since I have such a hope, I speak with great frankness, 13 not like Moses, who used to wear a veil over his face, to keep the Israelites from gazing at the fading of the splendor from it. 14 Their minds were dulled. For to this day, that same veil remains unlifted, when they read the old agreement, for only through union with Christ is it removed. 15 Why, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil hangs over their minds, 16 but "whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is removed." 17 Now the Lord here means the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, reflecting the splendor of the Lord in our unveiled faces, are being changed into likeness to him, from one degree of splendor to another, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.