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Verse 1. McGarvey and Pendleton see this as a comparison to the spirit of God dwelling in the tabernacle until the temple was built. By inspiration, Paul knew that if the fleshly body were destroyed, a spiritual body would replace it. The spirit would separate from the body at death and the body return to dust. ( Jam_2:26 ; Ecc_12:7 ) Our new body will be specially suited for life in heaven.
Verse 2 While enduring this life's suffering, it is natural to long for that better specially prepared house (or clothing).
Verse 3 Paul longed for the day of the Lord's coming when he might lay aside this physical body and put on the spiritual.
Verse 4 Paul did not long for death because it brought separation of soul and body (or nakedness). Rather, he was willing to face death because of the new body awaiting him on the other side.
Verse 5 God told us about the immortal body which awaits us and how to reach it. He gave us the Holy Spirit as a pledge that He would keep the promise of a new body ( Heb_2:3-4 ).
Verse 6 With such assurance, Paul knew that this earthly home was not to be preferred to death where we can be home with the Lord.
Verse 7 Faith is the assurance that we will have that new body in the heavens. We can not see it, but know it by faith ( Heb_11:1 ).
Verse 8 That knowledge caused him to desire death with no need to fear because he would be with the Lord.
Verse 9 Though he had assurance, he did not grow lazy. Paul wanted to please God while in his physical body (absent) and when he was with the Lord (at home).
Verse 10 To let down his guard would have been fatal since all deeds will be laid open before Christ's judgment seat. Each will be rewarded on the basis of those deeds, so Paul took aim toward heaven to avoid missing being at home with the Lord.
Verse 11 Fearing the Lord because of his power to judge all deeds, Paul sought to please the Lord by persuading men. God would know his right intentions, since he saw all, and Paul hoped the Corinthians could now also see his good intentions and actions.
Verse 12 Paul did not say this to boast, but to give his friends full enough knowledge to compare his actions with those opposing him. While those opposing him gloried in outward show (like letters of recommendation), he, Paul, had spiritual facts to stand in his behalf.
Verse 13 Some opposing him might say he was mad. Yet, his madness was all directed in God's service. Even if they saw a sane part of him also, it was aimed at the strengthening of the church. So, they could not accuse him of building up himself.
Verse 14 Paul was devoted in his service to Christ who would have him serve man. Though the apostle might be tempted to neglect this service, the love of Christ caused him to continue in it. He especially felt compelled to serve since Christ had representatively died for all. Paul was thus dead to sin and self, and alive in Christ. ( Rom_6:1-11 ; Gal_2:20 ; Col_3:3 )
Verse 15 Since Christ died for us, we ought to live for Him. ( Rom_12:1-2 )
Verse 16 After his conversion, Paul did not judge men in light of worldly thinking. This was true even thought Paul had judged Christ by that standard before his conversion. This verse might especially be directed to Jews and their genealogies.
Verse 17 Christians are spiritual and should be judged by spiritual standards. They should not be rejected because they are Gentiles or accepted because they are Jews. Fleshly desires are laid aside at baptism and a new life begun.
Verse 18 This new man lives a life completely planned and revealed by God. He sent Christ to die that we might be made friends again with God.
Verse 19 God gave us a means of having our sins forgotten and re-establishing our friendship with him. In turn, he wants us to tell others the terms of becoming God's friends.
Verse 20 As ambassador carries messages from the King. Because Christ's blood had cleansed him of sin, Paul carried the message of salvation to the world. As Christ's messenger, he pleaded with men to become God's friend through the washing away of sin.
Verse 21 The strength of Paul's plea lay in the fact that God loved us enough to send a sinless Son to die for sinful man.
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17