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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 9

Verse 9. For if the ministration of condemnation. Of Moses, in giving the law, the effect of which is to produce condemnation. Law condemns the guilty; it does not save them. It denounces punishment; it contains no provisions of pardon. To pardon is to depart from the law; and must be done under the operation of another system—since a law which contains a provision for the pardon of offenders, and permits them to escape, would be a burlesque in legislation. The tendency of the Mosaic institutions, therefore, was to produce a sense of condemnation. And so it will be found by all who attempt to be justified by the law. It will tend to, and result in their condemnation.

Be glory. Be glorious; or be glory itself. It was glorious as a manifestation of the holiness and justice of God; and glorious in the attending circumstances. No event in our world has been more magnificent in the circumstances of external majesty and splendour than the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.

The ministration of righteousness. The gospel; the promulgation of the plan of mercy. It is called "the ministration of righteousness," in contradistinction from the law of Moses, which was a "ministration of condemnation." The word " righteousness," however, does not exactly express the force of the original word. That word is dikaiosunhv, and it stands directly opposed to the word katakrisewv, condemnation. It should be rendered, "the ministration of justification;" the plan by which God justifies men. See Barnes "Ro 1:17".

The law of Moses condemns; the gospel is the plan by which man is justified. And if that which condemns could be glorious, much more must that be by which men can be justified, acquitted, and saved. The superior glory of the gospel, therefore, consists in the fact that it is a scheme to justify and save lost sinners. And this glory consists,

(1.) in the fact that it can be done when all law condemns.

(2.) In the showing forth of the Divine character while it is done, as just, and merciful, and benevolent in doing it—blending all his great and glorious attributes together; while the law discloses only one of his attributes—his justice.

(3.) In the manner in which it is done. It is by the incarnation of the Son of God—a far more glorious manifestation of Deity than was made on Mount Sinai. It is by the toils, and sufferings, and death of Him who made the atonement, and by the circumstances of awful and imposing grandeur which attended his death, when the sun was darkened, and the rocks were rent—far more grand and awful scenes than occurred when the law was given. It is by the resurrection and ascension of the Redeemer—scenes far more sublime than all the external glories of Sinai when the law was given.

(4.) In the effects, or results. The one condemns; the other justifies and saves. The effect of the one is seen in the convictions of conscience, in alarm, in a sense of guilt, in the conscious desert of condemnation, and in the apprehension of eternal punishment. The other is seen in sins forgiven; in peace of conscience; in the joy of pardon; in the hope of heaven; in comfort and triumph on the bed of death, and amidst the glories of heaven.

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