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 What is meant by the letter kills?

2 Thess 2:15-17
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. Col 4:16
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

2 Tim 3:15-4:1
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Can we have a rebel gospel that don’t line up with the word?
Gal 1:8-12
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

2 Thess 3:1-6
3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.

2 Cor 3:2-3
2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

What is meant in the above by the letter kills? Does it mean that when we study HIS WORD that we become so aware of our helplessness apart from HIS SPIRIT living on the inside us not only to want to obey the letter but gives us the strength if we have any obedience to obey. Apart from HIM we can do nothing. If we boast in anything we will boast in HIM.

The more I study HIS Word the more I see just how much grace and how much mercy I received.

Jeremiah told us about the New Covenant that long before it happened.

Jer 24:7
7 And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

Jer 31:31-34
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

He has given us that New Covenant through the shed blood of Christ. His Spirit is the power that makes us proclaim he is Lord. His Spirit is what gives us the zeal to remember His Word and gives us the ability to put His laws in our minds and our hearts and also to obey it. But as Paul said we have another member warring against that Spirit. We are to study HIS WORD and Not to add to it or to take away from it.

Are we under the law?
Rom 2:14-16
14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Ps 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

The Pharisees only had the Old Testament but it appears they were about as well acquainted with the Old Testament as many church members are today with the New Testament. The Pharisees also added to His Old Testament laws.

Jesus gave a warning to all the preachers in the seven churches in Revelations. In the church at Ephesus he gave the warning below. I sounds to me that they had gotten away from just exactly what the Word said.

Rev 2:4
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
KJV5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
What did he mean when he said he would remove the candlestick. Some translation say lamp stand instead OF CANDLESTICK . Did he mean HIS SPIRIT from the church ?

How did they leave their first love?
John 14:15-17
15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth.

Many churches have gotten so conformed to matching the world's culture and justifying it by saying "well that was for then and it is different now". The Lord knew when he gave Paul, Peter, James and the inspired writers the Word just exactly how it was then and how it was going to be now and if it had of needed any further explanation, don't you think he would given it to us in HIS WORD. Does he not say he is not the author of confusion?

 2007/7/9 13:47

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re: What is meant by the letter kills?

Hi moe_mac, how are you?

When I think of the verse you mentioned in the title of this thread, I think also of the Lord's words in Matthew 12:7

[b][color=660033]But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.[/color][/b]


Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2007/7/9 15:10Profile


Chris it appears you understood the passage as I did. When we read and study we know without mercy we are in trouble and without hope. You know the slang "man that's a killer". In other words when we read or hear and understand what the letter says and know what it means we will know without a doubt that we need Dr. Jesus to heal our soul right and then the Spirit will give us life.
Later Bro.

 2007/7/9 15:57

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: What is meant by the letter kills?

What did he mean when he said he would remove the candlestick. Some translation say lamp stand instead OF CANDLESTICK . Did he mean HIS SPIRIT from the church ?

[u]How did they leave their first love?[/u]
John 14:15-17
15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth.

To understand this question we need to take a step back a ways and look at the mindset of many of the Pharisees. We also need to understand some historical things. Ephesus was believed to have been visited for a significant amount of time by John the Apostle. It is also believed that Paul wrote I Corinthians from there. John was big on love. Paul wrote the great love chapter I Cor. 13 from Ephesus. How is it that some 20 or 30 years later- this church had left their 'first love'; or if I might so say- "the love they had at first"?

The Pharisees and Sadducees were notorious for trying to establsh themselves with distinction. The Sadducees were the aristrocratic type and exalted themselves with their prestige. The Pharisees were the learned group that had taken it upon themselves to be the protectors of the Law. They viewed themselves as exalted over common folk. To them the common people were ignorant and 'sinners'. They even accused Jesus of being ignorant. At one point they even backhandedly asked Him (who IS the Word of God) if He even knew 'letters' or as we could say 'grammar' (John 7:15). It was this same word [i]gramma[/i] that is translated as the 'letter' that kills in II Cor. 3:6. It was here that the Pharisees had placed their trust, but more importantly [i]made their name[/i].

The Pharisees set the 'gramma' up against the Word. They did this to maintain their [i]position[/i] in society. For years they had been called, Rabbi, Rabbi, and loved the chief seats. They loved to be seen of men. They loved the praise of men. They found their sense of meaning in the accolades and reverence they received from the people. They acquired much of this reverence by presenting themselves as the ones who know the 'gramma'. They tried to depict themselves as tight-knit with God. They spent a tremendous amount of time patting each other on the back re-enforcing this sense of exaltation over the people. And in this they divided the worship between them and God. What do you suppose happened when the Son of God came on the scene? They lost their repore with the people and were willing to do almost anything to keep it from slipping through their fingers.

Often people ask the question, "why didn't most of the Pharisees believe?" His words were oracles and deeds were miracles. They knew the water was turned to wine by Jesus. He had walked on water. He had fed the multitudes. He had spit in the ground and made an eyeball and a man could see. He healed the lame. He raised Lazarus from the dead. So why did they not believe? Jesus frames the answer to this in the form of a question:

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:44)

They fed off this honour that they received from one another. It must have fed their ego and sense of self-worth. Understand the grip that this 'receiving of honour' had on these men; they were even willing to blaspheme the Holy Spirit in order to sabotage the faith of those who were turning their attention and reverence away from the Pharisees and towards Christ. They 'blasphemed God' in order to retain the praises of men. Sound familiar?

The miracles, according to John's Gospel, had long since established Christ as Messiah. There was no reasonable doubt. Even Nicodemas in John 7 demonstrated how God was with Christ. Did they hear him? What did they ask him? "Are you deceived also?" They knew that the whole world believed on Him. They had to do something!

If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both [u]our place[/u] and nation.(John 11:48)

The word here for 'place' is [i]topos[/i] or 'spot'. The Romans will come and take our [b]spot[/b]. We know historically that this never happened and that after the Pharisees fled to Jamnia in 70AD when war broke out a certain sect of the Pharisees actually worked [u]with[/u] the Roman authorities to seize control over the all dissenters (i.e. the Nicodemas's and Paul's of the Pharisees; see Daniel Gruber's works). From here they established Rabbinic Judaism.

And this is the issue that brings us to the church at Ephesus. [u]What[/u] or [u]who[/u] was turning the hearts of the people away from Christ and upon themselves? What or who was [u]dividing the worship[/u] and shifting the focus off of Christ? The Ephesians were a very learned group of Christians. They had had the best of the best in teachers and doctrine. Yet, knowledge puffs up and in time the danger is found in believeing that one can do without the consel of God. Soon folk feel they can exalt themselves in the congregation. A power struggle begins.

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. [u]For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.[/u] (Philip. 2)

This was not a new problem. Men have 'sought their own' in the name of God for hundreds of years. And this is what gets teh candlestick in jeopardy. When men assemble and seek their own. Even when they assemble in the name of God and read the bible. These are accesories of their efforts. They have an agenda- and it's not God's. Running parallel to this the Rabbi's said in effect - we have the authority- we have the book- why do we need God? We can express our religion in God's absence and still call ourselves the people of God; when truly, the thing that defines any people as God's people is whether or not God is [u]among[/u] them. This is the people whose praise is not of people - but of God. This is the true Circumcision.

If Christ is not front and center then Christ will remove the Candlestick. Will He share His glory? Will He allow HIS Church to operate without Him? Will He tolerate the notion that people can go on with their services without consulting Him for direction? Will they come together as an assembly (ekklesia) with 'expectations' rather than an faith filled [i]expectancy[/i]? The Candlestick is representative, I think, of the moving and edification of the Holy Spirit in the midst of and [i]through[/i] the people on an individual level. Can we be lights in the World if Christ give us no candlestick, oil and flame?

Robert Wurtz II

 2007/7/9 19:18Profile


Thanks Bro Robert for your reply. You provided much background and information for me. I checked out your profile as I was reading your reply to my wife, she asked is he a preacher" I said I don't know but it sounds to me if he is not, he outta be.

We are neighbors. I'm from Delight Arkansas. I surrendered my life to the Lord with my mouth only in 1977. In 2001 I did it with my heart and my mouth, the only way that counts. I was water baptized again because the first time was only counted as a bath. I am still searching for whatever job the Lord has for me. I built and manage our church website I sub taught a class for about year. As they say in Nascar. I guess I haven't found the groove my car runs best in yet. Thanks again for taking time to cover that question for me and the SI gang.
In Christ

 2007/7/9 20:04

Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4807

 Re: What is meant by the letter kills?

Brother Moe-mac wrote:

The Pharisees also added to His Old Testament laws.

Paul writes...

Rom 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

If one looks to Psalm 119 we find that there is a knowledge that truly does lead one to God's righteousness, but in the case of Paul's generation they (as you have stated above) "went about to establish their own righteousness."

The difference between the Psalmist of 119 and Paul's generation is that Paul's generation did not submit "themselves unto the righteousness of God."

The generations of Paul's began to establish the 'Mishna" which in my view resembles much of what "dispensational and systematic theology" teaches today. Both, by the doctrines of men, lead people away from allowing the Holy Scripture to speak to the individual.

It is today, as it was then, men get lost in the study of minute details of grammar and systems of theology and fail to enter into a relationship with our Savior and allow Him to teach His ways. They write books, they start seminaries, they charge huge sums of money to teach others what they have created.

Only by feeding on the pure milk of the word of God is one able to grow in spiritual discernment. Only by feeding on the curds and honey of the word of God does one begin to understand what is good and know to reject what is evil.

This is the pure way...

David submitted to the righteousness of God...

Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.

12 Who can understand [his] errors? cleanse thou me from secret [faults].

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

What David wrote above speaks to God placing His word in David's heart.

In Christ

Jeff Marshalek

 2007/7/9 21:35Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


Bro. Jeff's: The generations of Paul's began to establish the 'Mishna" which in my view resembles much of what "dispensational and systematic theology" teaches today. Both, by the doctrines of men, lead people away from allowing the Holy Scripture to speak to the individual.

I think this is true. Certainly the Rabbi's reserved the right to interpret everything from the scripture to a dream a person may have had. They do not believe in what Luther called, "The priesthood of all believers."

It is today, as it was then, men get lost in the study of minute details of grammar and systems of theology and fail to enter into a relationship with our Savior and allow Him to teach His ways. They write books, they start seminaries, they charge huge sums of money to teach others what they have created.

I think this is true also. I recall Leonard Ravenhill in the interview saying that folk need to be asked if they [i]know God[/i]. Jesus talks in John often about what it meant to know the Father and how that through much study the Pharisee's still did not know Him. When they saw the Word personified they did not recognise Him.

It seems to me that the reason this was is the same as what we read about Moses coming down from the mountain. The people wanted a vail on Moses' face. Why? One would think that if a person carried in their face the residue of God's glory folk would line up to get a piece of the action. But they did not. They did not want to look upon even the afterglow of God's glory. So they took the covenant and rejected the glory. And there is no wonder they never saw God in His own word.

Robert Wurtz II

 2007/7/9 23:04Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


Hi Gary,

I was water baptized again because the first time was only counted as a bath.

;-) I can relate to that.

As they say in Nascar. I guess I haven't found the groove my car runs best in yet. Thanks again for taking time to cover that question for me and the SI gang.

Well, sometimes there is a lot of preparation for what He ultimately has in store. But, in the mean time, He'll use us anytime we make ourselves available I suspect. "Availability" is as good of abilty as any.

Lots of wonderful folks here on SI to help shed light on things. Lots of resourses. Lots of perspectives. :-)

Robert Wurtz II

 2007/7/9 23:17Profile


Thank you Robert for your posts and Rookie.

Just like to come along side in agreements and post this from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, that confirms the work you put into your posts.

""2Co 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.

2Co 3:6 - able--rather, as the Greek is the same, corresponding to 2Co_3:5, translate, "sufficient as ministers" (Eph_3:7; Col_1:23).

the new testament--"the new covenant" as contrasted with the Old Testament or covenant (1Co_11:25; Gal_4:24). He reverts here again to the contrast between the law on "tables of stone," and that "written by the Spirit on fleshly tables of the heart" (2Co_3:3).

not of the letter--joined with "ministers"; ministers not of the mere literal precept, in which the old law, as then understood, consisted; "but of the Spirit," that is, the spiritual holiness which lay under the old law, and which the new covenant brings to light (Mat. 5:17-48) with new motives added, and a new power of obedience imparted, namely, the Holy Spirit (Rom_7:6). Even in writing the letter of the New Testament, Paul and the other sacred writers were ministers not of the letter, but of the spirit. No piety of spirit could exempt a man from the yoke of the letter of each legal ordinance under the Old Testament; for God had appointed this as the way in which He chose a devout Jew to express his state of mind towards God. Christianity, on the other hand, makes the spirit of our outward observances everything, and the letter a secondary consideration (Joh_4:24). Still the moral law of the ten commandments, being written by the finger of God, is as obligatory now as ever; but put more on [u]the Gospel spirit of "love,"[/u] than on the letter of a servile obedience, and in a deeper and fuller spirituality (Mat. 5:17-48; Rom_13:9). [u]No literal precepts could fully comprehend the wide range of holiness which LOVE, the work of the Holy Spirit, under the Gospel, suggests to the believer's heart instinctively from the word understood in its deep spirituality.[/u]

letter killeth--by bringing home the knowledge of guilt and its punishment, death; 2Co_3:7, "ministration of death" (Rom_7:9).

[u]spirit giveth life--The spirit of the Gospel when brought home to the heart by the Holy Spirit, gives new spiritual life to a man [/u](Rom_6:4, Rom_6:11). [u]This "spirit of life" is for us in Christ Jesus[/u] (Rom_8:2, Rom_8:10), [b]Who dwells in the believer as a "quickening" or "life-giving Spirit"[/u] (1Co_15:45).

Note, the spiritualism of rationalists is very different. It would admit no "stereotyped revelation," except so much as man's own inner instrument of revelation, the conscience and reason, can approve of: thus making the conscience judge of the written word, whereas the apostles make the written word the judge of the conscience (Act_17:11; 1Pe_4:1). True spirituality rests on the whole written word, applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit as the only infallible interpreter of its far-reaching spirituality.

The letter is nothing without the spirit, in a subject essentially spiritual.
The spirit is nothing without the letter, in a record substantially historical.""

The Lord seems to be saying "experiential" knowledge for weeks now on here. As you well know, that's a word Paul used that differed from just "knowledge" alone.
Thank you for touching on these points above already.

 2007/7/9 23:49

 Re: Thanks Grannie Annie for your comments

Have a great day. I enjoy all the re:s from everyone and I enjoy reading all your posts. This is great site. I'm so thankful to have each one of you as an encourager in HIS WORD.

Heb 10:25
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Although church services are important, meeting together in HIS WORD is not confined to a church service.

 2007/7/11 5:46

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