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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know -- The expression “we know” is the language of strong and unwavering assurance. They had no doubt on the subject.

Paul is giving a reason why he and his fellow-laborers did not become weary and faint in their work. The reason was, that they knew that even if their body should die, they had an inheritance reserved for them in heaven.

that if our earthly house [home]-- The word “house” here refers doubtless to the body, as the habitation, or the dwelling-place of the mind or soul. The soul dwells in it as we dwell in a house, or tent.

The word “earthly” here (ἐπιγειος epigeios) stands opposed to “heavenly,” or to the house eternal (ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς en tois ouranois) in the heavens.” The word properly means “upon earth, terrestrial, belonging to the earth, or on the earth,” and is applied to bodies 1 Corinthians 15:40; to earthly things John 3:12; to earthly, or worldly wisdom, James 3:15.

of this tabernacle [tent; -- This word means a booth, or tent - a movable dwelling.

The use of the word here is not a mere redundancy, but the idea which Paul designs to convey is, doubtless, that the body - the house of the soul - was not a permanent dwelling-place, but was of the same nature as a booth or tent, that was set up for a temporary purpose, or that was easily taken down in migrating from one place to another.

It refers here to the body as the frail and temporary abode of the soul.

were dissolved [is destroyed; -- (καταλυθῇ kataluthē). This word means properly to disunite the parts of anything; and is applied to the act of throwing down, or destroying a building.

It is applied here to the body, regarded as a temporary dwelling that might be taken down, and it refers, doubtless, to the dissolution of the body in the grave.

we have a building [an house;] -- Robinson (Lexicon) supposes that it refers to “the future spiritual body as the abode of the soul.”

Paul is looking forward to the resurrected body which will be the home of our spirit after the Lord’s second coming 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16; 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.

not made with hands, -- Not constructed by man; a habitation not like those which are made by human skill, and which are therefore easily taken down or removed, but one that is made by God himself.

This does not imply that the “earthly house” which is to be superseded by that in heaven is made with hands, but the idea is, that the earthly dwelling has things about it which resemble that which is made by man, or as if it were made with hands; that is it is temporary, frail, easily taken down or removed. But that which is in heaven is permanent, fixed, eternal, as if made by God.

eternal in the heavens. -- Immortal; to live forever. The future body shall never be dissolved by death.

Verse 2

2 Corinthians 5:2

For in this -- In this tent, or dwelling. In our body here.

we groan, -- We are subject to so many trials and afflictions in the present body and subjected to many pains and much suffering, that it makes us earnestly desire to be transformed to that new body which will be free from all suffering.

longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, -- Here Paul changes his metaphor. The body here and the spiritual body hereafter is a house or a dwelling. But now he speaks of it as a garment which may be put on and he earnestly desire to put on the immortal clothing which will be ours in heaven.

Both of these figures are common in ancient writings, and a change of metaphors is not unusual.

our habitation [house] which is from heaven, [NKJV, etc] -- Paul desires to be invested with that pure, spiritual, and undecaying body which was to be the eternal abody of his soul in heaven. He speaks of it as a house(oketerion) a more permanent dwelling than a tent, or tabernacle.

Verse 3

2 Corinthians 5:3

if indeed by putting it on [being clothed] -- Our spirits will put on this new clothing (a new spiritual body) at the resurrection when the spirits of the redeemed return with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16; 1 Corinthians 15:51-51;). When we lay down this mortal body, our spirits are body-less and it appears (Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 7:13; Revelation 7:14) that Christ will give our spirits a white robe to be clothed with until the time of the resurrection of our new bodies.

Those still living when Christ returns will receive that new body in a momentary change, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

we may not be found naked -- Until the new body is attained at the resurrection our spirits would be naked [without a body to clothe it] if not given the white robe. The saints are looking forward with a desired expectation of that new heavenly body.

Christianity, like Judaism, asserts that we (both believers and unbelievers, cf. Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29) will always have a bodily expression. Possibly Paul is again refuting the false teaching (incipient Gnosticism). - Utley

Verse 4

2 Corinthians 5:4

while we -- We who are Christians.

still in this tent [tabernacle] -- In our earthly mortal bodies, 2 Corinthians 5:1.

we groan, -- This implies an ardent and earnest desire to leave a world of toil and pain, and to enter into a world of rest and glory. - BN

being burdened -- Weighted down by the toils, trials, and calamities of this life, see 2 Corinthians 3:7-10.

not that we would be unclothed, -- Not that we are impatient and longing for death, and the putting off of this mortal nature. It is not our wish to depart and leave our work undone.

Paul seems to be saying, "The reason for the longing of the new body is because of the affliction and trials here, not that we want to get away from you our converts."

further clothed ... mortal may be swallowed up by life. -- We look forward to the time when our mortal bodies are transformed into that spiritual eternal body and we are ushered into eternal life with God. 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.

Verse 5

2 Corinthians 5:5

He who -- God.

has prepared -- God has prepared or made an immortal dwelling for His people.

See John 14:1-2. Many think that in John 14:2 the "prepared" place Jesus is speaking of is heaven; and they speak of "heaven, as a prepared place for a prepared people."

Others think that Jesus is speaking of making the preparations for the founding of the new kingdom, the church, which will began to be received by obedient believers on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. -- See 2 Corinthians 1:22.

(1) The spirit-filled life of a Christian in imitation of Christ is a guarantee, or a pledge, or assurance of eternal life.

(2) The miraculous witness of the Spirit through the works of the apostles and prophets and those who had the laying on of hands by the apostles was proof, or a guarantee, of the truthfulness of their testimony (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4; Acts 8:14-18;).

In thinking of God as a promise-keeping God, Paul gives the assurance that the Spirit-led life is a guarantee or pledge that God will keep his promise of eternal life for such Christians.

spirit -- Some take "spirit" in almost every mention as being the Holy Spirit, and interpret it in light of a some interpretation they have given it an some other passages without taking into consideration the present context.

The "spirit" here may mean our own spirit; God has made in us an eternal part; the inner part of man God made us to be eternal, this is the guarantee of a life with God eternally.

Perhaps in the beginning at creation even the body (the outer dwelling) was created to last forever when man had the opportunity to eat of the tree of life and live forever, (Genesis 3:22). But the inner part of man, the spirit, is created with eternity in mind and the guarantee that an obedient man will live with God forever.

The spirit is the "earnest of our inheritance, Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30.

The presence of the Spirit in Christians’ lives now is the down payment or guarantee that they will receive resurrection bodies when Jesus returns; - ESVSB [This ESVSB note is correct, but "Spirit" should not be captalized, for it is our own spirit within us that is the guarantee, it is our eternal nature. - wg]

guarantee -- ἀῤῥαβών arrabōn. G728. This rich commercial term has two meanings: (1) a pledge or guarantee that differs in kind from the final payment but makes it obligatory; (2) a first installment of a purchase, a down payment or deposit, that requires further payments. - NIVZSB

Verse 6

2 Corinthians 5:6

See Topical References - Gann "Where Are The Righteous Dead? " Topical Reference - Gann

See note on 2 Corinthians 5:8

(Relevant passages:)

Luke 16:19-32; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Revelation 1:18

1 Corinthians 15:55-56; Ephesians 4:8-10 ??; Matthew 27:51-53

Philippians 1:21-24; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 6:11.

always of good courage [confident] -- The word used here (θαῤῥοῦντες tharrountes) means to be of good cheer. To have good courage, to be full of hope. The idea is, that Paul was not dejected, cast down, disheartened, discouraged. He was cheerful and happy.

we know -- see 2 Corinthians 5:1. This is another instance in which the apostle expresses undoubted assurance.

while we are at home in the body -- The word used here (ἐνδημοῦντες endēmountes) G1736 means literally to be among one’s own people, to be at home; to be present at any place. It is here equivalent to saying, “while we dwell in the body;” see 2 Corinthians 5:1.

It means here simply to be in the body; to be present in the body; that is, while we are in the body.

we are absent [away] from the Lord - The Lord Jesus; see Philippians 1:23. Paul is saying that while we are alive in this physical body, we are not in the eternal presence of the Lord, (as we will be in heaven).

Where Are The Righteous Dead?

Upon Jesus’ death His spirit went into Hades Acts 2:27, the abode of departed spirits. From Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:19-31 there were two abiding places for such spirits in hades, a place called "Abraham’s bosom" Luke 16:22 and "paradise" in Luke 23:43, and separated from this place by a gulf that could not be crossed Luke 16:26 was a place in hades where there was torment Luke 16:23.

But Jesus came to destroy death Hebrews 2:14 and was victorious over Satan 1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Timothy 1:10; Colossians 2:15 in his resurrection. During the three days between his death and resurrection our Lord had not yet ascended to the Father John 20:17 and when he did Luke 24:49-51; Acts 1:9; Mark 16:19; he took with him the righteous souls of those in "Abraham’s bosom" "paradise" into heaven, into the presence of the Father Ephesians 4:8-10; Luke 4:18; Psalms 68:18; Colossians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 2:15; Luke 11:21-22; Isaiah 53:12; Colossians 1:13.

With Jesus’ victory over death and Satan he now had the keys to death and hades Revelation 1:18. The consequence of Jesus’ victory is that for the saint who dies in the Lord now his spirit goes to be with Christ and await the resurrection of his body 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23. Apparently these bodyless spirits will be given a white robe to cloth them until the time of the resurrection of their bodies Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:13.

The wonderful signifiance for the Christian today there should be no fear of death, for it is to go and be with the Lord 1 Corinthians 15:55.

The wonderful truth for the Christian today is that because of this victory we will not spend any time in Satan’s dominion of that hadean world, but will die to be in the Lord’s presence awaiting the time of the resurrection and judgment. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23, etc.

Those who hold to the teaching of Luke 16:19-31 as the situation for today are overlook the accomplishment and significance of Jesus’ victory over the grave which occurred after this. The passage in Luke then describes the situation up until Jesus’ victory and resurrection.

(A mystery is still the understanding of Matthew 27:52-53.)

Verse 7

2 Corinthians 5:7

for we walk by faith, -- To walk, in the Scriptures often denotes to live, to act, to conduct in a certain way. The sense here is that we are to conduct ourselves while alive in this body with reference to the spiritual things which are not seen; with heaven our goal; and not with reference to the things of this world which are seen.

not by sight. -- We are not to base our life on the influnce of this world, or worldly things which are seen physically. Not to let worldly lusts, and/or pride be our guiding influence for choosing the manner of life we follow.

by faith, not by sight -- Believers have not seen proof of resurrection and glorification with their own eyes. Paul encourages them to live by faith and to confidently expect God to do what He promised in Christ (compare 1 Peter 1:18). See Hebrews 11:1. - FSB

The Christian can hope for a heaven he has not seen. He does so by believing what Scripture says about it and living by that belief (Hebrews 11:1; cf. John 20:29). - MSB

Verse 8

2 Corinthians 5:8

we are of good courage -- We are cheerful, and courageous, and ready to bear our trials. 2 Corinthians 5:6. We have hope and expectation, and looking at the long picture.

rather be away from the body -- If Paul were to choose, he would prefer to be actually in the presence of the Lord where that is a better place than to be in his physical body in a world of sin and trials. Philippians 1:23;

at home with the Lord. - Paul realizes we are aliens in this world and our real home (citizenship) is in heaven, and that is our preferred place to be. Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:19.

To the Christian who understands and believes this, death has lost its sting! 1 Corinthians 15:55.

When believers die, they leave the physical body and enter the presence of Christ (compare Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). - FSB

Where are the dead?

Matthew 25:21, 2 Corinthians 5:6; Philippians 1:21-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ; Revelation 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:55-56; Hebrews 2:14;

Cf. Luke 16:19 ff. Ephesians 4:8-10 ; ?? Matthew 27:51-53.

- - - - -

Five Minutes After Death

(If You Are Saved)

2 Corinthians 4:16 – inward man / outward man

Ephesians 3:16 – inner man

--Triune consideration: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Soul = ψυχὴ psucha - G5590 breath, the soul, ( physical life )

OT – Genesis 2:7 man became a living soul –

Used metaphorically for the spirit at times – and/or totality of man - Acts 2:41

I. Luke 16 - Parable or True Event ?

1. Luke 16:19 ff. I believe it to be true, but either way "parables" are true-to-live illustrations, and not the same as "fables" where one may have foxes, rabbits, etc. speaking, etc.

2. Will Angels to carry us away ?

Luke 16:22 – Lazarus died and was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom.

The rich man died – nothing said about angels or demons taking him away, but simply that in hades and in torment.

a) Not sure about out-of-body experiences or “near-death” experiences.

b) Not sure about the “light” [News article 10/19/2018 about consciousness after declared “dead” physically, then resuscitated and told of what seen and heard.]

c) Movie “Ghost” saw demons taking away the spirits of the mean and wicked in the movie. (sparkling lights supposedly took the good away to heaven ??)

II. Hell - Hades - Sheol - Paradise - Tartarus


1. The Lord went the Hadean world when he died on the cross.

Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31 “hell” = “hades”

Luke 16:23 hell = hades

John 20:17

Luke 23:43 Jesus in "Paradise"

2. 2 Peter 2:4 wicked angels in hell = "tartarus"

III. The Lord’s Victory -

Hebrews 2:14-16 thru death Jesus destroyed the devil’s power

Heb_2.14 render Satan powerless in death

Matthew 27:51-53 – some "resurrected" also after Jesus’ resurrection [?]

IV. Passages to Consider

Acts 2:31 - Christ didn’t remain in hades, nor did his body see corruption

1 Peter 3:22 – into Heaven after his ascension

1 Peter 3:18-20 - spirits in prison (see Ryrie in NASv, ok)

Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" 2 Peter 2:5

Ephesians 4:8-10 – When Jesus ascended on high; read NASV

Picture of conquering generals/kings leading their plunder (spoils) in triumphant procession.

Colossians 2:15; by Jesus’ public appearances after his resurrection he shamed the evil powers who controlled Hades and proclaim his victory!

Revelation 1:18 Jesus now has the "keys" of hell and of death.

Gate of ... Job 38:17; Psalms 9:13; Psalms 107:18; Matthew 16:18

Isaiah 53:12 – spoil divided with the strong (Satan)

First, the strong man of the house must be bound, Matthew 12:29

2 Peter 2:4 - wicked angels in "Tartarus"

V. Christians Die to be with the Lord today

Acts 7:59 – Stephen – "Lord Jesus Receive my spirit" Acts 7:56-60

Philippians 1:23 – to depart and be with Christ

2 Corinthians 5:6 – in the body is to be absent from the Lord

2 Corinthians 5:8 - for Christians to be absent from the body is to be with the Lord.

Revelation 7:9 John saw a great number in heaven, who were they?

Revelation 7:13 – who were those arrayed in white robes – and serving in the temple

READ Revelation 7:14-17 ( 2 Corinthians 5:3 spirits naked after death til resurrection, Revelation 6:11]

SOME THINK only those martyred go to be with Christ –

Revelation 6:9 – souls of those slain ... BUT “they” were the ones crying for vengeance.

The Islamic faith took that concept for the Jhadg – that those who died for the cause of Allah go directly to be with him. But what Paul and Stephen says is true of all who die in the Lord – that we all go to be with the Lord – 2 Corinthians 5:6.

Luke 23:43 - Jesus in Paradise ("Hades" between death and his resurrection)

2 Corinthians 12:2 - “Heaven”; 2 Corinthians 12:3Paradise” READ 2 Corinthians 12:1-5

This is the VICTORY that is ours in Christ today ! The STING taken out of death!

[1 Corinthians 15:55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is you sting?" Christians should have NO fear of death, because we know where we are going and who we will be with !]

This blessing changed with the GOSPEL AGERevelation 14:13 ( "who die in the Lord from now on"; see Revelation 14:6)

Luke 16 – described the way it was until the death & victory of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 — Jesus will bring the spirits back with him at the Second Coming to receive their resurrected bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:44 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

[Why the judgment? Judges 1:15; Matthew 7:22-23 ]

Verse 9

2 Corinthians 5:9

So whether [wherefore; therefore] -- (Διὸ Dio). In view of these facts just stated; and since we have the prospect of a resurrection and future glory; since we have the assurance that there is a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; we make it our purpose and goal to live as to be accepted by him.

whether present or absent - Whether present with the Lord 2 Corinthians 5:8, or absent from him 2 Corinthians 5:6; that is, whether in this world or the next.

we make it our aim to please him. -- The whole purpose and duty of man is to honor God and keep obey his will for us. Ecclesiastes 12:13; Hebrews 5:9.

we make it our aim -- Paul was speaking of his ambition in life, but not the kind of proud, selfish desire that “ambition” expresses in English. “Aim” is from the Greek word [φιλοτιμέομαι, G5389 ] that means “to love what is honorable.” Paul demonstrated that it is right and noble for the believer to strive for excellence, spiritual goals, and all that is honorable before God (cf. Romans 15:20; 1 Timothy 3:1). - MSB

well pleasing to Him. This was Paul’s highest goal (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5), and should be so for every believer (cf. Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:10; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1). The term translated “well pleasing” is the same one used in Titus 2:9 to describe slaves who were passionate to please their masters. - MSB

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all -- "We ... all" makes this a universal statement that applies to all mankind without exception. "Must" indicates that this is obligatory on everyone’s part, and without any way to avoid this appointment. Hebrews 9:27. Romans 14:10.

appear before the judgment seat of Christ, -- A day for rewards and justice for all evils done. Romans 14:10; Revelation 20:12.

judgment seat -- This is the Greek word βῆμα, bēma G968, which was an elevated platform where victorious athletes (e.g., during the Olympics) went to receive their crowns. The term is also used in the NT to refer to the place of judging, as when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:19; John 19:13), but here the reference is definitely from the athletic analogy. Corinth had such a platform [which is still visible today] where both athletic rewards and legal justice were dispensed (Acts 18:12-16), so the Corinthians understood Paul’s reference. (MSB)

JUDGMENT - Hebrews 9:27, Acts 17:30-31, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 11:31-32, 2 Peter 2:9, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

For a sermon on the "Judgment" see "A Day of Surprises" Revelation 20:10-15.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 5:11

Therefore, knowing -- Paul and the preaching/teaching brethren with him had full assurance of the coming day of judgment and the wrath of God against ungodly men. Acts 17:30-31.

the fear of the Lord, -- It is a fearful thing for sinners to fall into the hands of God. His wrath is something men should not desire. Hebrews 10:31. Galatians 6:7. "Fear of the Lord" involves reverence for Christ.

It is not referring to being afraid, but to Paul’s worshipful reverence for God as his essential motivation to live in such a way as to honor his Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:1; Proverbs 9:10; Acts 9:31). - MSB

we persuade others. -- Paul’s desire was like that of God (2 Peter 3:9), he didn’t want men to be lost eternally. He endeavored to persuade men to flee from the wrath to come, to be prepared to stand before the judgment-seat. (Luke 3:7; Romans 14:10).

persuade -- The Greek word for “persuade” [πείθω, peithō G3982] means to seek someone’s favor, as in getting the other person to see you in a certain favorable or desired way (cf. Galatians 1:10). This term can mean gospel preaching (Acts 18:4; Acts 28:23), but here Paul was persuading others not about salvation, but about his own integrity. - MSB

What we are is known to God, -- God could see the sincere and upright aim and purpose of Paul’s mission work.

Paul’s true spiritual condition of sincerity and integrity was manifest to God (2 Corinthians 1:12; cf. Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16), and he also wanted the Corinthians to believe the truth about him.

hope it is known also to you conscience. -- Paul trusted the Corinthians were convinced of his integrity and the godly aim of his preaching.

Verse 12

2 Corinthians 5:12

not commending ourselves -- Here Paul states the reason for his comments in v.11 about his integrity being known to them.

but giving you cause -- Paul wanted to furnish the Corinthians with a ready reply when slanderous charges were made against him by those who boasted in their rank, their eloquence, and all their external advantages, while Paul’s integrity was seen in his manner of life and his humble submission to God.

boast about outward appearance -- Those who have no integrity, such as Paul’s opponents at Corinth, have to take pride in externals, which can be any false doctrine accompanied by showy hypocrisy (cf. Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:1; Mark 7:6-7).

Paul’s opponents may have boasted in their rhetorical skill (see 2 Corinthians 11:6 and note) or status as Jews (2 Corinthians 11:22). Paul insists that such boasting is not profitable. He instead boasts in his weakness because that is where Christ’s power is displayed more clearly (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). - FSB

in appearance - Literally, in face, i.e. in that which is visible. See 2 Corinthians 10:7.

in the heart -- But those who would judge of Paul aright must look into his very heart, and not on his face. The heart reality that Paul considered more important was the testimony of his clear conscience before God and people.

Verse 13

2 Corinthians 5:13

For if we are beside ourselves, -- This was probably a charge brought against Paul by some of the Judaizing teachers. It may well be some thought he was deranged, see Acts 17:32, for his appearance at Mars Hill, and Acts 26:24, for his appearance before Festus.

it is for God; -- It is in the cause of God, and from our love for Him.

sound mind -- The original word [G4993] meant to be sober minded, and in complete control. Paul also behaved this way among the Corinthians as he defended his integrity and communcated truth to them.

if we are in our right mind, it is for you. -- If what we are preaching is true, then it is to your benefit, and you should listen to what we have to say. Paul was seeking their welfare.

Verse 14

2 Corinthians 5:14

For the love of Christ -- Grammatically this is either: "Christ’s love for us" (i.e., subjective genitive) or "our love for Christ" (i.e., objective genitive). But with the reference to Christ’s death for all in the following clauses, a subjective genitive ("Christ’s love for us") is more likely. - NET

compels us -- (controls, constrains, urges, overwhelms); Love compels our options and actions. "Love Does"

compels, controls, constrains -- (συνέχει sunechei). G4912; Here it means, that the impelling, or exciting motive in the labors and self-denials of Paul, was the love of Christ - the love which he had showed to the children of men. Christ so loved the world as to give himself for it. John 3:16.

love of Christ compels [controls] us -- means the love which Christ has towards us (Ephesians 3:19; Romans 5:5; Romans 5:8). See Cremer, Lex. p. 594. Because He loves us so much, we have to restrict our energies to the service of God and of our fellow-men, - CGC

Paul was influence by the love which Christ had shown in dying for all people, and by the argument which was furnished by that death respecting the actual character of the Lord.

we have concluded -- Greek, "we judging this." Because of Christ dying for all we can come to this firm conviction.

one has died for all, therefore all have died; -- Since Christ took the place of sinners and died in their stead, and endured for all the punishment they were due, then all have vicariously died on that cross.

The phrase “for all,” (ὑπὲρ πάντων huper pantōn) obviously means for all mankind; for every man. This is an exceedingly important expression in regard to the extent of the atonement which the Lord Jesus made, and while it proves that his death was vicarious, that is, in the place of others, - BN

all died. -- In the death of Christ, all underwent the death deservedly theirs because of sin. The scope of redemption is universal since God’s offer of salvation excludes no one, but the application of redemption is limited since not all people appropriate the benefits afforded by this offer and committed themselves to Christ as obedient disciples.

all died -- If Paul to speaking of the Corinthian Christians, they had all imitated the death and resurrection of Christ is their baptism, Acts 18:8; Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:1-2.

Verse 15

2 Corinthians 5:15

And that he died for all -- This verse is designed still further to explain the reasons of the conduct of the apostle. He had not lived for himself. He had not lived to amass wealth, or to enjoy pleasure, or to obtain a reputation.

that those who live -- Christians are made alive unto God as the result of the dying love of the Redeemer. Sinners are dead in sins. Christians are alive to the worth of the soul, the presence of God, the importance of religion, the solemnities of eternity.

might live no longer for themselves -- Christians should not seek our own ease and pleasure; should not make it our great object to promote our own interest, but should make it the grand purpose of our lives to promote Christ’s honor, and to advance his cause.

but unto him -- Unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

who died for their sake and was raised. -- Paul states the grounds for the obligation under which he placed himself: (1) the fact that Christ had died for him, and for all; . It was a purchase; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19. (2) he second is, that he had risen again from the dead. To this fact Paul traced all his hopes of eternal life, and of the resurrection from the dead; see Romans 4:25. 2 Timothy 1:10.

Verse 16

2 Corinthians 5:16

From now on, therefore -- In view of the fact that the Lord Jesus died for all people, and rose again.

The word “henceforth” (ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν apo tou nun) means properly from the present time; but there is no impropriety in supposing that Paul refers to the time when he first obtained correct views of Christ Jesus, and that he means from that time.

we regard no one according to the flesh. -- Paul’s estimate of a man was not formed according to the flesh.

The word “know” here (οἴδαμεν oidamen) is used in the sense of, we form our estimate of; we judge; we are influenced by.

according to the flesh -- Paul’s estimate of a man’s worth was not based on his birth or country; his rank, wealth, or office; his friends, or anything based on this world.

once regarded Christ according to the flesh, -- Paul at one time had a low view of Christ’s worldly value. He had viewed him as Christ’s enemies in the Gospel accounts viewed him. See Acts 29:9-11.

we regard him thus no longer. -- Paul’s opinion and belief in Jesus Christ changed from being a persecutor, to a preacher of Jesus Christ. cf. Acts 2, Acts 22, Acts 26.

Verse 17

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, -- G5620; so then;

if anyone is in Christ, -- To be in fellowship with Christ, in a personal relationship. The way one moves from being "out" of Christ and "into" Christ is pictured in Galatians 3:26-27; and Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-6;

he is a new creation [creature] -- In Christ man finds forgiveness and a new way of living. He turns from a sinful way of living for self, and now lives an obedient life to the glory of Christ.

new creature, G2537, new in the sense of freshly made.

The old has passed away; -- G744, archaia, Paul may be referring to: 1) the old dispensaton of the Law of Moses, and the new age of the Messiah and the Gospel for all nations; or 2) the old man of sin has been forgiven and he now lives a new life in Christ.

behold, -- G2400,

the new has come. -- A new life, a new age.

become new -- see James 2:24 note "Being Saved" about become a new creature in Christ.

Verse 18

2 Corinthians 5:18

All this is from God, -- This refers particularly to the things in question, the renewing of the heart, and the influences by which Paul had been brought to a state of willingness to forsake all, and to devote his life to the self-denying labors involved in the purpose of making the Saviour known. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

through Christ -- Acts 20:28; The price paid for our redemption, which brought about our reconciliation to God.

us -- The word “us” here includes Paul and all who were Christians - whether Jews or Gentiles, or whatever was their rank.

reconciled -- Sin is pictured as estrangement, Romans 5:10.

[ # 2 A picture from friendship, Reconciliation, v. 18-19. It never speaks of God being reconciled to us, but always us to God. "Blessed are the Peacemakers" Next see Freed-man 1 Corinthians 6:20 ]

ministry of reconciliation; -- Paul view reconciling man back to God as the purpose of his ministry. This is the purpose of preaching the gospel, the good news that reconciliation is possible in Christ.

Verse 19

2 Corinthians 5:19

that is -- (Greek, Ὡς ὄτι Hōs oti), namely This verse is designed further to state the nature of the plan of reconciliation, and of the message with which they were entrusted.

God ... through Jesus Christ -- See note on previous verse, 2 Corinthians 5:18. That God was by Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ en Christō), by means of Christ; by the agency, or mediatorship of Christ. Christ was the mediator by means of whom God designed to accomplish the great work of reconciliation

reconciling the world -- The world here evidently means the human race generally, without distinction of nation, age, or rank.

The whole world was alienated from God, and He sought to have it reconciled. This is one incidental proof that God designed that the plan of salvation should be adapted to all people; 2 Corinthians 5:14.

It may be observed further, that God sought the reconciliation. Man, the offending party, did not seek it. He had no plan for it, he had no way to effect it. It was the offended party, God, not man that sought to be reconciled; and this shows the strength of His love. It was a love for enemies and alienated beings, and the desire to become friends that reconciliation is offered by God.

not imputing -- G3049, λογίζομαι logizomai; 1) to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over

1a) to take into account, to make an account of;

Not reckoning their transgressions to them; that is, forgiving them, pardoning them. The pictures is from the accountant’s office. A picture of a credit or debit balance sheet. [c. Colossians 2:14, Blotting out. Illustration of ancient writing methods. The paper was papyrus - and the ink was made out of soot, gum, and water. One could use a sponge to wipe the paper clean. Next see Galatians 4:5 ]

Lesson: There was a charge sheet against us, but Jesus, as it were, took a sponge and wiped it clean.

entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. -- The task of making known the nature of God’s plan, and the conditions on which God was willing to be reconciled to man, has been committed to the ministers of the gospel.

Verse 20

2 Corinthians 5:20

Now the, -- ουν, Now then, G3767, (conjunction).

we are ambassadors -- We are the ambassadors whom Christ has sent forth to negotiate with people in regard to their reconciliation to God.

G4243, πρεσβεύω presbeuō; Thayer Definition: 1) to be older, prior by birth or in age; 2) to be an ambassador, act as an ambassador.

*** Se DSB on Ambassadors, etc. 2 Corinthians 5:20 - 2 Corinthians 6:1.

for Christ -- υπερ for G5228 PREP 1) in behalf of, for the sake of; χριστου Christ G5547 N-GSM ; This identical Greek expression occurs twice in this verse.

as thought God were pleading through us -- Our message is to be regarded as the message of God. It is God who speaks. What we say to you is said in his name and on his authority, and should be received with the respect which is due to a message directly from God.

we implore you -- G3870, admonish, exhort, beg, entreat, encourage, instruct,

on Christ’s behalf -- See Note above for Christ --

be reconciled to God -- This is the sum of the message which the ministers of the gospel bear to their fellow-men; see the note on 2 Corinthians 5:19. It implies that man has something to do in this work. He is to be reconciled to God. Man, being in the wrong, the offending party, is to submit to God’s terms of mercy.

Verse 21

2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake -- The design of this very important verse is, to urge the strongest possible reason for being reconciled to God. This is implied in the word (γὰρ gar) “for” "in our behalf". Paul might have urged other arguments, and presented other strong considerations. But he chooses to present this fact, that Christ has been made sin for us,

he made him to be sin -- Literally, it is, ‘he has made him sin, or a sin-offering’ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν hamartian epoiēsen G4160, V-AAI-3S

who knew no sin -- Christ knew no sin, by personal experience, as he was guilty of no sin; Which of you (saith he, John 8:46) convinceth me of sin? 1 Peter 2:22, He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: but God made him to be sin for us. He was numbered with the transgressors, Isaiah 53:12. Our sins were reckoned to him; so as though personally he was no sinner, yet by imputation he was, and God dealt with him as such; for he was made a sacrifice for our sins, a sin offering; so answering the type in the law, Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:29; Leviticus 5:6; Leviticus 7:2. (-Poole)

so that in him -- In the relationship of being "in Christ", cf. Galatians 3:26-27.

we might become the righteousness of God -- This is a Hebraism, meaning the same as divinely righteous. It means that we are made righteous in the sight of God; that is, that we are accepted as righteous, and treated as righteous by God on account of what the Lord Jesus has done.

That we might be made righteous with such a righteousness as those souls must have whom God will accept.

As our sin is made over to Him, so His righteousness to us (in His having fulfilled all the righteousness of the law for us all, as our representative, Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30). The innocent was punished voluntarily as if guilty, that the guilty might be gratuitously rewarded as if innocent (1 Peter 2:24). "Such are we in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God himself" [HOOKER].

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-corinthians-5.html. 2021.
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