1 Do you say that this is self-recommendation once more? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 Our letter of recommendation is yourselves--a letter written on our hearts and everywhere known and read. 3 For all can see that you are a letter of Christ entrusted to our care, and written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the ever-living God--and not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts as tablets.
4 Such is the confidence which we have through Christ in the presence of God; 5 not that of ourselves we are competent to decide anything by our own reasonings, but our competency comes from God. 6 It is He also who has made us competent to serve Him in connexion with a new Covenant, which is not a written code but a Spirit; for the written code inflicts death, but the Spirit gives Life.
7 If, however, the service that proclaims death--its code being engraved in writing upon stones--came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily on the face of Moses because of the brightness of his face--a vanishing brightness; 8 will not the service of the Spirit be far more glorious? 9 For if the service which pronounces doom had glory, far more glorious still is the service which tells of righteousness. 10 For, in fact, that which was once resplendent in glory has no glory at all in this respect, that it pales before the glory which surpasses it. 11 For if that which was to be abolished came with glory, much more is that which is permanent arrayed in glory.
12 Therefore, cherishing a hope like this, we speak without reserve, and we do not imitate Moses, 13 who used to throw a veil over his face to hide from the gaze of the children of Israel the passing away of what was but transitory. 14 Nay, their minds were made dull; for to this very day during the reading of the book of the ancient Covenant, the same veil remains unlifted, because it is only in Christ that it is to be abolished. 15 Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts. 16 But whenever the heart of the nation shall have returned to the Lord, the veil will be withdrawn. 17 Now by "the Lord" is meant the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is enjoyed. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, reflecting like bright mirrors the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same likeness, from one degree of radiant holiness to another, even as derived from the Lord the Spirit.