1 Am I beginning to recommend myself again? I do not, like some people, do I, need letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You are my letter of recommendation, written on my heart, read and understood by everybody, 3 for you are always showing that you are a letter of Christ, produced by my service, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence I have through Christ in the presence of God. 5 Not that I am myself qualified to consider anything as coming from me myself. No, my qualification comes from God, for 6 He has qualified even me as a minister of the new covenant, which is not a written but a spiritual covenant. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the old religious service which resulted in death, although its law was carved in letters of stone, was introduced with a splendor so great that the Israelites could not keep their eyes fixed on Moses' face because of the splendor that was fading from it, 8 why should not this spiritual service be attended with much greater splendor? 9 For if the service connected with condemnation had such splendor, the service resulting in right standing with God will surely far surpass it in splendor. 10 For on account of its surpassing splendor, what was once so splendid has now no splendor at all. 11 For if what passed away was introduced with splendor, with how much greater splendor must what is permanent be attended?
12 So, as I have such a hope, I speak with the greatest boldness, 13 not as Moses did, who used to wear a veil over his face, to keep the Israelites from gazing at the end of what was passing away. 14 Besides, their minds were made dull; for to this day that same veil remains unlifted, whenever they read the Old Covenant; because it is only through union with Christ that it is removed. 15 Indeed, to this very day, whenever Moses is read, a veil hangs over their hearts, 16 but whenever anybody turns to the Lord, the veil is removed, 17 Now the Lord means the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with faces uncovered, because we continue to reflect like mirrors the splendor of the Lord, are being transformed into likeness to Him, from one degree of splendor to another, since it comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.