April 23, Sunday

Today’s AMI Quiet Time Devotional is written by Andy Kim.  Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA.


2 Corinthians 3:1-3

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

You may recall a time when you either asked or were asked for a letter of recommendation or reference. In most cases, we ask people who know us well, who know our work ethic, and can ultimately vouch for us. It might start off like this: “It is my greatest pleasure and honor to recommend <name> to your program/institution/company….” After that, the letter will also include their relationship to you, your strengths, with possibly an area of improvement, and their thoughts on how you could contribute to the company. And as important as the content of the letter is, the credibility of the writer matters as well.  Now imagine a letter about your life. What would it say and who would you choose to write it?

In this passage, Paul’s apostolic ministry and validity is brought into question by the Corinthians. Ironically, he points them back to the Corinthian church and their ministry as his defense. He further qualifies that the work he had done with the church was only possible through the Spirit’s transforming work and indwelling presence. This serves to validate Paul as both a servant of God and minister to the Corinthians. Paul continues by assuring the church that regardless of their assessment, God is the one who ultimately knows him best, and more importantly, only God can truly commend him as an apostle of Christ. Paul reminds the Corinthians that this truth is based on the new covenant that we have through Jesus.

We have someone greater and worthier than any being, who stands on behalf of us to the Father. His name is Jesus, the very Son of God who—rather than with ink or qualifications—commends us to the Father through His very blood and Spirit. Our validity in both our identity and ministry comes only through this truth. It is no longer about who we are and what we have accomplished, as the world enslaves us; rather, it is about who He is and what He has done. Let us remember that it is not by our works that we are saved, but only by the grace of Jesus Christ. And it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to do the ministry of Christ. As Paul continues, may we find such hope and confidence in this truth. Spend some time reflecting on this, as it is so easy to forget in the name of “serving and doing ministry.”

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for being the Great Mediator, knowing that it is only by Your grace we are saved. We confess that many times we forget this simple truth. May we always preach to ourselves that our identity and worth comes only from You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Leviticus 16

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