Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleThe Spirit Giveth Life
Bible Text2 Corinthians 3:6
Article Type Article
Audio HI-FI Listen: The Letter & The Spirit (32 kbps)  /  [go to notes]
Audio CD Quality Listen: The Letter & The Spirit (128 kbps)  /  [go to notes]


2 Corinthians 3: 6: Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.


Preaching “of the spirit” is declaring that God in Christ fulfilled all the obligations of the new covenant for his people so that all the promises of God are yes and amen to the believer in Christ. (2 Cor 1: 20; 1 Cor 1: 31; 2 Sam 23: 5)


     The spirit giveth life.”  The word “spirit” is not speaking of God the Holy Spirit. It means breath, spirit, life.  Christ said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Jn 6: 63)  In the garden, God took a dead body and breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living soul.  Christ takes a dead sinner, speaks his word into us and his word is spirit and life which quickeneth us to spiritual life. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1 Cor 15: 45) Christ said, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will….Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (Jn 5: 21, 25-26)


     This is how God puts the new spirit [little s] in his people like he promised in Ezekiel 36: 26-27: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit [little s] will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. I will put my spirit [little s] within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”


     The gospel is not taught us in our old sinful stony heart but only in the new spirit Christ puts in us.  The sinful old man can do nothing.  It is in the new spirit Christ puts in us in which we are given faith, taught the gospel and worship God. Christ said, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit [little s] and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a [capital S] Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in [little s] spirit and in truth.” (Jn 4: 23-24)  When we are born-again we are given a new spirit. The new spirit is one with God the Holy Spirit within us but it is not God the Holy Spirit. They are one but distinct. Therefore, “The [capital S] Spirit itself beareth witness with our [little s] spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Rom 8: 16) God does not teach us the gospel in our old man which is dead. It is only in the new spirit that the Spirit of God bears witness. In every believer there is the old fleshly man of Adam and there is God the Spirit and the spirit he puts in us. That is why Christ said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the [capital S] Spirit is [little s] spirit.” (Jn 3: 6)


     Christ’s preachers are called “ministers of the spirit” because Christ does this work through the preaching of the gospel. Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever…And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Pet 1: 22-25)