We are the STORYTELLERS of JESUS CHRIST today! “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (2 Cor. 3:1-3)
In the above passage, Apostle Paul is incredulous that a formal introduction to a church he founded should be necessary. We need to remember that such letters of introduction and recommendation were a common practice in New Testament times (see Acts 9:1–2; 18:27). Letters of commendation were used in the early church by Christians traveling from one place to the other. Paul does not disparage the use of these letters as they were necessary due to the prevailing social, political, and religious climate in his time. However, he was amazed that the Corinthian believers require such kind of letters from him!
The language implies that the false apostles mentioned later in this letter (11:13) had tried to gain acceptance by using such references. However, Apostle Paul’s ministry was sincere, from and before God from the position that he had received in Christ (2:17). So, having declared his sincerity, Paul asked if he needed a letter of commendation to back him up, as some others did. Both questions in this verse (v. 1) expect the answer “no”. Then, Paul declares that his letter is far better, because it consists of the lives of the Corinthian believers (v. 2). His legitimacy as a minister of the gospel was proved by the changed lives of the Corinthian believers, who were his effective letter of recommendation (1 Cor. 9:2).
The Corinthian believers were Paul’s epistle, written in his heart by the Spirit of the living God and read by all people. They were the fruit of his ministry, and their conversion had resulted in their turning to God from idols as a result of which they were now living separated sanctified lives. God had truly changed them, and it was a matter of public record now. Jesus Christ was the One who had done the work in their lives as the Author of their salvation, but He did it through the ministry of Apostle Paul who had been the medium by whom the Savior had penned His letter. This was a work of God’s grace, but in this work Paul had worked as God’s instrument.
Today, every believer is called to be an epistle or letter of Christ written by the Spirit of the living God. As living letters, we can illustrate how Christ has made a difference in our lives in the way we treat others, and in the manner in which we strive to live with integrity. We are Christ's letters of recommendation to all who read our lives. As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, our lives are read by all the people who are within our sphere of influence. We are called to bring glory to the One (Jesus Christ) who loves us and has redeemed us by His precious blood!
In other words, we are the storytellers of Jesus Christ today! In every situation, people around us are watching us and listening to the story that we are telling. Our story does not only communicate through our words but also through our attitude and action as we respond to the different challenges in our lives. Let us examine ourselves today if our story is one of compassion, forgiveness, patience, generosity and love in action. Do we experience the joy of the Lord and His grace through the Holy Spirit who resides in us? Let us be shaped by the Holy Spirit so that people can come to know Jesus through what they see in and through us. Let our lives tell the story of the love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ to the world around us!