Synopsis of Il Corinthians chapter 3
The function of Il Corinthians 3 is to reveal the superiority of the Law of Christ over the Law of Moses. One must ask why Paul inserted this chapter in his epistle to the Corinthians. The answer is obvious, false teachers had trekked over land and sea and spread like a disease throughout the church. They began in Judea (Acts 15:24) and moved north toward Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 15: l, 30) and continued west and northwest to Galatia and beyond (Acts 16:4).
Law of death and condemnation
Paul refers to the Mosaic Law as the "letter that kills" (3:6), "ministration of death" (3:7), and "ministration of condemnation" (3:9). The Mosaic Law "kills" because it rewarded death with unlawful living (Romans 6:23). No man could live lawfully perfect and expect to have life through Mosaic Law keeping (Galatians 3:10). Therefore, the Mosaic Law was a "ministration ofdeath." The Law "condemned' its adherence and gave them no hope. There was; however, a "glory"' of the Mosaic Law (3:9). First, the glory of the Mosaic Law was that it had a divine origin (Il Pet. 1:21). Secondly, the "glory" of the Mosaic Law was that it was designed by God to lead man to see their need for Jesus (Acts 3:22; Galatians 3:24). The false teachers accepted the first glory; however, they fatally rejected the function of the Mosaic Law as revealed in Galatians 3:24 (a tutor to bring men to Christ). To such men the veil of confusion remained (3:14).
Law of life, spirit, righteousness, and liberty
The Mosaic Law was designed to point up man's sins (Romans 7:7) and motivate the sinner to seek after forgiveness through Jesus (Galatians 3:24). Jesus offers life to those who would seek after Him and His Law (John 1:4; Galatians 6:2). The law of "life" (3:6) offers an eternal heavenly existence (John 3:36). This Law through Christ is "spirit" (3:6) rather than physically engraved words. Those who accept Christ words do so happily with no grumbling or complaining (I Jn. 5:3). The law of Christ is "righteous" (3:9) and filled with eternal "glory" (3: I l) because it has divine origins as did the Mosaic Law.
The superiority of the Law of Christ
The Law of Christ is superior to the Law of Moses in that it liberates man from their sins (John 8:32). The Mosaic Law had no provisions for the remission of sins. Secondly, the superiority of the Law of Christ is that is designed to be eternal and the Mosaic Law only "passed away" (3: I l). Thirdly, the superiority of the Law of Christ is seen in the fact that it was designed to take away the "veil' of ignorance (Isaiah 25:6ff; Il 1 Corinthians 3:16). Mankind are drawn to God's light through the gospel message (John 6:44-45). The gospel enlightens man that he may know and understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17)
John C. Robertson