1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or are we like some who need letters of commendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter--a letter written on our hearts, and one which everybody can read and understand. 3 All can see that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, a letter written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on 'tablets of stone,' but on 'tablets of human hearts.'
4 This, then, is the confidence in regard to God that we have gained through the Christ. 5 I do not mean that we are fit to form any judgment by ourselves, as if on our own authority; 6 Our fitness comes from God, who himself made us fit to be ministers of a New Covenant, of which the substance is, not a written Law, but a Spirit. For the written Law means Death, but the Spirit gives Life.
7 If the system of religion which involved Death, embodied in a written Law and engraved on stones, began amid such glory, that the Israelites were unable to gaze at the face of Moses on account of its glory, though it was but a passing glory, 8 Will not the religion that confers the Spirit have still greater glory? 9 For, if there was a glory in the religion that involved condemnation, far greater is the glory of the religion that confers righteousness! 10 Indeed, that which then had glory has lost its glory, because of the glory which surpasses it. 11 And, if that which was to pass away was attended with glory, far more will that which is to endure be surrounded with glory!
12 With such a hope as this, we speak with all plainness; 13 Unlike Moses, who covered his face with a veil, to prevent the Israelites from gazing at the disappearance of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were slow to learn. Indeed, to this very day, at the public reading of the Old Covenant, the same veil remains unlifted; only for those who are in union with Christ does it pass away. 15 But, even to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies on their hearts. 16 'Yet, whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.' 17 And the 'Lord' is the Spirit, and, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with faces from which the veil is lifted, seeing, as if reflected in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into his likeness, from glory to glory, as it is given by the Lord, the Spirit.