As we enter the season celebrating the birth of Jesus, we must remind ourselves that we’ve been given a gift to be competent. We are ministers of a new covenant of grace and peace: the gift from Jesus. 2 Cor. 3:6 says “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Scripture declares that our competence as ministers comes from the new covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter of the law. What does that mean? It simply means that the Father has made us competent, i.e. skillful in method and effective in action, through the undeserved favor, blessing and love birthed at Christmas 2000 years ago.
Our methods and actions must only come from the new covenant of grace and peace. It is through this Christmas gift that we minister transformation in people’s lives leading them into the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). When we try to influence people by the letter of the law we employ wrong methods and actions, thereby undermining the gift of Christmas and rendering ineffective our leadership in the Kingdom. Leading by the letter of the law always stifles, diminishes and even kills. The letter of the law is no longer our supervisor! (Gal. 3:25)
What is the ‘letter’ versus the ‘Spirit’? The letter is the literal content of 3000 dos and don’ts of the 10 commandments, the feasts, the sacrifices, in short, rules of religious living. The letter of the law can only bring death. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit’s intent and ultimate goal. By the Spirit, we love God and love people through our righteous relationship with the Father with whom we have peace through the abundant grace given by Jesus. Leading by the Spirit brings life to those around us. Leading by the law kills joy and brings death to those around us. Paul challenged the Galatian believers who had succumbed to the ‘letter’ when he said ‘what has happened to your joy’? (Gal. 4:15)
You are a competent minister….. competent when ministering through the gift Jesus, the competent minister, brought at Christmas. We now minister by the Spirit, through the grace, love and hope, of the Christmas gift. Rejoice in what He has done to make possible what you can do!