2 Corinthians 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
I woke up this morning with what I thought was a true bible verse: “The word killeth, but the Spirit giveth life”. Looking up the verse in the Bible it turned out I was wrong. It says the letter, not the word.
Over 40 years ago my wife and I emigrated to America. She became increasingly disillusioned with life here and got more and more unhappy as we realized more and more of our life goals, two beautiful children, a good job, a new house, two cars, in short, all you could ever wish. But she was unhappy and started to question the meaning of life. Is that all there is? At the same time she started seeking, and enrolled in a study course on great literature. One of her assigned readings was the Gospel of Matthew, and reading it she asked me the question: Since Jesus said: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28), can that be true? If that is so then heaven must be empty. Nobody can control their thoughts.
I tried to assure her that heaven is just a concept to make us desire to live as good a life as possible and let God sort it out. This didn’t go over well, so she grew more and more unsatisfied. A friend invited her to a bible study and she agreed to go with her once to ask some pointed questions, but to her surprise they didn’t get mad at her but answered all her questions patiently. She went back week after week and she finally accepted that she couldn’t do it herself, but she had to accept the fact she was sinful and only through believing and trusting in Jesus Christ could she find the meaning of life. That changed her attitude completely. Initially I was very glad for her, smiling and even occasionally laughing again, a trait that once made me fall in love with her. But then she decided I needed this new-found purpose of life also, so she started to work me over at least one hour every night and even longer on weekends. This continued for months and she had no success in making me see things her way. The biggest point of disagreement was: What has Jesus to do with that?
Then one night she prayed and cried out to God: God, I can’t do it, you do it! She felt the spirit giving her assurance. “I sure will, don’t worry, just believe.”
From that day, she was different, and half a year later I too became a believer.
What made the difference? For months she had tried to quote scripture at me, thinking something must stick, but nothing worked. She tried to do it herself apart from the spirit thinking the letter of the word would do the work. This is, I believe one aspect of the verse, and I too can testify that the Spirit gives life.