3 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.
3 clearly you are an epistle [letter] of Christ,
The defense of Paul’s team comes from the Corinthian church itself. They were their letter of recommendation, but it was written by the Holy Spirit Himself and not the team. Christ Himself transformed this unique letter by personal regeneration.
ministered by us,
This letter from Christ was also “clearly” true of the team. The team’s letter was so legible that anyone could come to grips with the reality of the gospel.
Paul’s gospel team carried the message of Christ. The Author of these living epistles is Christ; the currier of the message was Paul’s team, which the Holy Spirit wrote in ink.
written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God,
The “epistle” or letter was not physically written with ink. Ink might fade. The changeless Holy Spirit wrote the testimony of the Corinthian church, the living letter of Christ. Although they were frail human beings, the Spirit regenerated their hearts eternally. They showed evidence that a divine redeemer saved their souls. The Spirit of the living God gave spiritual life to the Corinthian church (Ezek 36:26-27).
Paul’s recommendation stood in contrast to the mere physical letters of recommendation of the fake apostles.
not on tablets of stone
Moses wrote on stone tablets (Ex 24:12). He wrote down the Old Covenant of the law in stone (2 Co 3:7, 14).
but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
God changes people through the heart and not from the legalism of the law. The essence of the gospel is transformation, not legislation. The New Covenant brings freedom (2 Co 3:15-18). The nature of the New Covenant is radically different from the Old Covenant. Paul’s commendation from the transformation of the Corinthian church was superior to the false apostles who only had human tribute or letters of recommendation.
The changed lives of Christians in Corinth were enough evidence for Paul’s ministry and the credibility of who he was.
The believer’s salvation needs to legible enough for the world to believe.
The purpose of a letter is to express thoughts to others. Christ’s living letters are to reveal the mind of Christ. The more legible people can see what Christ has done for us, the greater the testimony we will have. We manifest Christ through personal testimony.
Christians need to know who we are and whose we are. The right appraisal of who we are comes from the divine viewpoint, not a human viewpoint (1 Co 2:4-5; 1 Th 1:5; 2:13). We need to understand our place in God’s scheme of things.