What you have here in this last portion of 2 Corinthians 3 is the culmination of that great doctrine of the image of God introduced way back in the very beginning of the Bible in the first chapters of Genesis. That doctrine has four stages. Back in the beginning of Genesis, we are told that God made the man and the woman in God’s image. That is the first stage. Theologians have some difficulty talking about what that means, but it certainly means that the man and woman were made like God as personalities and like God in moral righteousness.

In this whole section of 2 Corinthians, the portion that I really like the best is the last. Paul has talked first about forgiveness of sins and restoration. He has talked, secondly, about the ministry of life, which follows from the preaching of the Gospel. Then he went on to talk about the moral, personal transformation of those who have heard and responded to that Gospel.

In the second section of this portion of 2 Corinthians, Paul begins to talk about his ministry. This is where he explained how he went to Troas. He was supposed to meet Titus there, but Titus didn't come, so Paul grew restless. The Lord had opened a great door of opportunity for him, but he was still restless. He was so concerned about the Christians at Corinth that he wanted to go on. So, he left Troas. Finally, somewhere in Macedonia, Paul met Titus.

The importance of God's work is what Paul talks about in this section, and he brings in three aspects of it. One aspect is the forgiveness of sins. For Paul, the case that embodies this great reality is the case of this man at Corinth who had been guilty of some great sin. This man is the one mentioned in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in the fifth chapter. There Paul issued instructions for church discipline.

We are studying Paul's second letter to the Corinthians and our study brings us to chapter 2, verse 5. From this verse through to the end of chapter 3 is a very diverse portion of the letter. If you analyze it in terms of the type of material Paul presents, you find three different things... I find, however, as I look at this section and reflect on these three things, that they also describe what God is doing in the world. And because they speak of what God is doing in the world, they speak about the most important thing that is happening in the world today.