Christian, you're a
letter from Christ
Their reasoning must have been, "This is the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! No amount of effort or expense is wasted. Let’s make it beautiful.
And beautiful falls short in describing these manuscripts! The finest parchment was dyed purple and carefully sewn together into quires of four sheets which, when folded, made sixteen pages. Several of these quires were tied together to form a codex, the ancient equivalent of a book. Scribes then copied the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, using gold and silver ink.
In one particularly beautiful manuscript, the words of Jesus and angels are written in crimson or gold; words quoted from the Old Testament and quotations of the disciples are in blue; the words of the Pharisees, of Judas Iscariot, and of the devil are black; and all the other words are written in vermillion. This masterpiece is preserved in the National Library of Paris.
We are impressed by the beauty and craftsmanship of such manuscripts, but these products of parchment and pen are not nearly as beautiful witnesses to the gospel as the epistles Paul describes 2 Cor. 3:3:
“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.”
When people see what we do, can they discern the gold and silver letters of the imperishable gospel imprinted on our hearts? Can they see the calligraphy of the Holy Spirit in the attitudes we display: our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control? Can they recognize the divine hand as it transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ? We can make it so by God's grace.
Our place is not in a museum or a national library, but in the houses and on the streets of town, instantly available to anyone who wants to stop and read. No amount of effort or expense is wasted to make our lives beautiful to those who would read Christ in us.