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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-15

10 The widespread fiction that the life of a Christian must be one of settled calm and contentment, prosperous and in every way advantageous in this life, is proven utterly fallacious by the experience of the apostle Paul. The carnal Corinthians may live and reign,

but he is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and cast down. As in Job's case, little was left him but his life. If we are faithful to God we will find but little in this life, and will look forward to resurrection life in Christ. Apart from resurrection we should be the most pitiable of all mankind. The reason that this conception of the believer's experience has been lost is the wide spread apostasy and conformity to the world. Do you see a servant of Christ persecuted and despised? Do not judge him hastily. He may be manifesting the life of Jesus, Who was despised and rejected because the world did not know him.

17 How shall we characterize our trials if Paul's were only momentary and light? At times he even despaired of life. Just before this he had been crying to God to remove the thorn in he flesh. But what is all this to him, in view of the transcendent revelations of the future of which he had become the depository and dispenser? We would speak of our present burdens and of the lightness of our load in the resurrection, but he reverses this. The glory of that day would be an unbearable burden to our present bodies. Our burdens are light indeed in view of that transcendent outcome.

18 The usual translation, "temporal" or "temporary" throws a false light on the context. That which we are observing does not endure for the course of time but only for a brief season. The stony ground hearer ( Mat_13:21 ; Mar_4:17 ) and the enjoyment of sin ( Heb_11:25 ) are temporary not temporal. These are the only passages in which his word occurs.

1 Our present soulish body is here compared with the temporary tent of the Bedouins, but our spiritual bodies, which will be our eonian habitations, are compared to a house.

2 Our present condition is aptly expressed in the two words, groaning and longing . We groan to be rid of our temporary tabernacle. We long to enter our eonian habitation. We have, however, no desire for any intermediate condition. Death is always viewed as an unwelcome enemy, in Scripture. Resurrection, vivification, is the true expectation of the believer. Even the apostle, in his infirmity and distress, never chooses death, but always suggests a far better alternative, the coming of Christ, when the mortal shall be swallowed up by life.

6 The article "the" in Greek, sometimes has almost the force of our "this". "The body" is not simply a body, but a particular body, that is, this body in which we are at home now. We have two homes. The tabernacle in which we now live and the eonian house in the resurrection; the soulish body and the spiritual body. We may be away from one home yet present in the other. Now we are away from home, from the Lord. Yet we would much prefer to be away from this home and be at home in our spiritual body, with the Lord. We have no third home, and if we had, the apostle has just made it clear that the naked, unsheltered condition is not at all to be desired. He could hardly reverse that conviction without some further explanation.

10 The dais, or raised platform from which games were judged and awards given, must not be confused with a judicial bench. The quality of our acts may determine the award to which we are entitled, but the question of condemnation is entirely foreign to such a tribunal. We are absolutely absolved from all condemnation, but we are eligible to an award for meritorious service. These awards will be distributed at the dais of Christ, according to our acts in "the" body, that is, our present soulish bodies.

14 The apostle looks upon the world as one vast charnel house. Since Christ died for the sake of all, then all died. He sees the end of all physical privilege and pretension in this great fact. This is the basis of the new departure in his ministry at this time.

Verses 16-21

16 Paul had been proclaiming the kingdom, with Christ and the nation which is related to Him by physical ties at its head. Entrance into that kingdom was by a birth from above. But now the figure of birth is not radical enough to denote the great change. Just as, after the day of the Lord, heaven and earth will be re-created so is the spiritual change which took place at this juncture. There is a new creation. Paul never connects the new birth with his teaching to the nations. It suffices to figure the change necessary for the sons of Israel and their proselytes, fitting them for the earthly millennial sphere. For us, far more is needed. Like Adam, we are not a mere renewal in kind, but an entirely new creation.

18 "All is of God!" This is the key to real evangelism. Here we have, in brief, the heart of the true evangel for the world in this administration of grace. The key note is conciliation . Not the sinner conciliating God, by penance or prayers, but God conciliating the sinner. The sinner may be most offensive and insulting, but. God does not reckon these offenses against him. Let this be clear. God is not charging men with their sins, for Christ died for sins. He is not pressing their offenses, for He is bent on conciliation. The evangel is not concerned with the sinner at all but with God's attitude toward him and with the sufferings of Christ. He has placed in us, not the message of judgment, but the word of conciliation.

20 God insists on being at peace with the world, no matter how they treated His Son, or Paul, or any of His ambassadors. He will withdraw us, His ambassadors, before He declares war, in the coming day of His indignation. What a marvelous token of His grace and love that God

(not the sinner) does the beseeching now! Nothing can be so foreign to this evangel as a sinner praying to God, for it closes his ears to God's entreaties. We are ambassadors for the high court of heaven, proclaiming peace and conciliation. When the sinner receives the conciliation there is mutual reconciliation between him and God. Sinner, God is beseeching you, through us, "Be conciliated to God! " Your sins are no hindrance, for He has made Christ a Sin Offering for our sakes that we may become God's righteousness in Him. There is nothing for you to do but to accept His proffered love. Simply thank and adore Him for His grace.

8 The true servant of God may well take heart from this list. Practically all the present day ministerial quallficatlons for service are absent. We know that Paul had no presence. His personal appearance did not commend him. His speech was counted contemptible. These were faults keenly felt by the carnal Corinthians, just as they are today. But he insists that he has given no one cause to stumble in anything.. Paul deemed eloquence and physical appearance of no vital moment. Love, knowledge, toil, endurance, these ought to characterize the Lord's servant today even if he should not be called upon to bear affiiction and distresses such as came to Paul. It is a vast comfort to the editor of this version to find himself able to enter fully into the apostle's experience in many particulars. His efforts have met with defamation and renown, he has been accused of deceiving yet is assured of his integrity, he is unknown yet recognized, disciplined yet not put to death, sorrowful yet ever rejoicing, poor yet enriching many.

14 The church has fallen so low and has compromised so thoroughly with the world that the sharp distinction between saint and sinner has been almost obliterated. And with this the separation between believer and unbeliever is rarely acknowledged. Were we, who are

Christ's, living up to our privileges, we would not even consider any alliance with unbelievers. In business we should have a standard of righteousness unknown to them. No partnership is possible between righteousness and lawlessness. The social organizations of the world are darkness to one who is light in the Lord. There can be no agreement between the religions of the world and Christ. The true believer cannot share in that which appeals to the unbeliever.

16 A due sense of the solemn fact that God is making His home in us is the best preventive from contamination with the pollutions of the world. Lev_26:11-12 ; LXX, with variations.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/2-corinthians-5.html. 1968.
 
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