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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 5

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-10

Paul’s Hope of Glorification - In 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10 we again get a glimpse of what a man looks like who is walking in a mature level of sanctification. It is important to note that this passage gives us a perspective of the role of the Godhead in bringing God’s servants into glorification after this sanctified lifestyle. We immediately see a man who has dedicated his life to Christian service. In 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:4 Paul weighs the troubles of this life with the eternal glory that awaits him. Such a lifestyle is manifested by a person who appears to be wasting away outwardly, but being renewed with an inner anointing day by day. Paul explains that he is looking not at things that are seen, but things that are not seen and eternal, while earnestly desiring to be with the Lord. Paul concludes this description of his divine ministry by telling the Corinthians that he labours so earnestly because we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:5-10).

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment” Comments These light afflictions reflect back on 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” Our earthly sufferings are light when viewed from a heavenly perspective.

Jesse Duplantis, when he was being interviewed by Benny Hinn on Trinity Broadcasting Network, said that when he was caught up in a visitation of heaven, he met Paul the apostle. Jesse tells us that in this conversation Paul told him that the Church has been misinterpreting the phrase, “which is but for a moment.” He said that the Church has been teaching that this light affliction lasts for a lifetime. Paul told Jesse to tell them that it refers only to a moment in the Christian life, and not for the entire earthly life of the believer. [60] In his book Heaven: Close Encounters of the God Kind Jesse Duplantis tells us how Paul spoke to him and emphasized the fact that our afflictions in this life are but a moment compared to the eternity that we will spend in Heaven. [61]

[60] Jesse Duplantis, interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, July 16, 2002), television program.

[61] Jesse Duplantis, Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, 1996), 97-9.

2 Corinthians 4:17 “worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” Comments - This sentence describes as set of scales weighing this present life to eternal glory. The scale for “eternity” far outweighs the present time. This present life is lightweight. Eternity is beyond measure.

Paul uses two adjectives to compare this life’s trials to eternity:

1. light insignificant, slight.

2. for a moment - momentary. In the Greek, this phrase is an adverb with an article, which makes it an adjective.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

Romans 8:17-18, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18 Comments - In order to understand that the afflictions of this life are brief compared to our eternal heavenly glory (2 Corinthians 4:17), we must look at things with the spiritual eyes of faith. We must look at this life from the view of the entire narrative of redemptive history. We must learn to see the big picture so that we can better understand the events that surround us daily. We can life our heads above the cloud of circumstances and see the clear, heavenly vision of God’s wonderful redemption story. We can have no hope otherwise. We need hope of eternal things in order to balance the things of this life (Romans 8:24-25, Colossians 1:23).

Romans 8:24-25, “For we are saved by hope : but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Colossians 1:23, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel , which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Comments Sharing in Christ’s Agony in Hopes of Future Glory - Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

“For I shall reign over kings and nations and peoples, yea, I shall be ruler over all the earth; but ye shall have a special place of honor, for thou art My prize possession. As it is written, having shared My agony, ye shall that day share My glory; having born for Me the cross, ye shall then share with Me the throne. (Know ye not that ye shall even judge angels?) Rejoice now, that ye have been chosen out and counted worthy to suffer for My sake. We share one common destiny, and we walk one single path. At this present time, it may hold sorrow and isolation; but cheer thine heart with the raptures that lie ahead. Some live now in the revelries and riches of this present world who shall that day be mourners and paupers. Will ye exchange places? Would ye desert Me now and be rejected then? Would ye ignore Me now, and be in that day rejected by Me? Nay, ye would not! Rather, ye will do as Paul: ye will glory in the midst of suffering and affliction, because ye know these things shall in that day be counter-balanced by an exceeding greater portion of joy (weight of glory).” [62]

[62] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 122.

Scripture References - Note a similar passage on our eternal hope in glory:

1 Peter 1:6-9, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

2 Corinthians 5:5 Comments - The “self same thing” refers to our being clothed with the resurrection body.

2 Corinthians 5:7 Comments - This walk of faith that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 5:7 has been illustrated in the preceding passages. Paul has just described his Christian journey as a minister of the Gospel reconciling the world unto God. Truly, it was a walk of faith.

Illustrations There are a number of illustrations in the Scriptures where people were led by their spiritual discernment more than by their five physical senses.

2 Kings 6:17, “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

The disciples failed to recognize Jesus at first in a number of recorded appearances following His resurrection until their spiritual eyes were opened (Matthew 28:17, Mark 16:12, Luke 24:16; Luke 24:37, John 20:14; John 21:4).

Matthew 28:17, “And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.”

Mark 16:12, “After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.”

Luke 24:16, “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.”

Luke 24:37, “But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.”

John 20:14, “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.”

John 21:4, “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”

Scripture References Note the following Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

2 Corinthians 5:9 Comments - Paul is saying that when he is absent from the body, he will still be labouring, that he may be accepted by Him. This means that in heaven, we will all have jobs to do, labours of love, while we serve our blessed Saviour.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10 Comments - It is interesting to note that there was a “judgment seat” in ancient Corinth during the time of Paul’s ministry there. Archeologists have identified a number of structures in the ancient ruins of Corinth. There is an ornamented gateway that leads to a marketplace where many shops were located. In the center of this large area (600 ft. long and 300 ft. wide) has been found the judicial bench or tribunal platform of the city. There speakers would address the crowds that had gathered in the market center. On either side were built rooms where cases were heard by the judicial magistrates. [63] We read in Acts 18:12-17 how the infuriated Jews drug Paul before this platform and condemned him before Gallio, the proconsul of the city at that time. Thus, Paul was able to use this analogy of a judgment seat to illustrate the future judgment of Christ that all believers must face.

[63] W. Harold Mare, 1 Corinthians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, and Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v. 2.8 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp., 1989-2001), “Introduction.”

Verses 1-21

Paul’s Spiritual Journey: His Ministry of Reconciling the World to Christ 2 Corinthians 1:3 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 forms the first major division of this Epistle. In these seven chapters we have the testimony of Paul’s ministry of reconciling the world unto Christ. It reflects the work of the foreknowledge of God the Father (2 Corinthians 1:3-11), justification through Jesus the Son (2 Corinthians 1:3-11), and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 4:16) at work in the life of a mature servant, then God’s role in bringing him to his eternal home in Glory (2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul then calls the Corinthians to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

A. Paul’s Testimony of the Father’s Comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

1. Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

2. Illustration 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

B. Paul’s Testimony of Jesus Christ 2 Corinthians 1:12-20

1. Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:12-14

2. Illustration 2 Corinthians 1:15-20

C. Paul’s Seal of the Holy Spirit (His Anointing) 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 4:16

1. Indoctrination 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:17

a. Explanation 2 Corinthians 1:21 to 2 Corinthians 2:4

b. Illustration 2 Corinthians 2:5-17

2. Calling 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

a. Explanation 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

b. Illustration 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

3. Perseverance 2 Corinthians 4:1-16

a. Explanation 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

b. Illustration 2 Corinthians 4:7-16

D. Paul’s Hope of Glorification 2 Corinthians 4:17 to 2 Corinthians 5:10

E. Paul’s Call for Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16

Paul Explains Why He Changed His Travel Plans In 2 Corinthians 1:15 to 2 Corinthians 2:1 Paul explains to the Corinthians why he had to change his original travel plans. It becomes obvious from comparing Paul’s reference to his travel plans in his two epistles to the Corinthians that he had initial plans of visiting the Corinthians by a certain route that took him directly from Asia to Corinth, into Macedonia and back to Corinth before departing back to Asia. However, these plans were changed at some point in time, because he left Asia and entered Macedonia before spending the winter in Greece.

In Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians he tells them of his anticipated plans of coming to visit the Corinthians when he goes into Macedonian to strengthen the churches there (1 Corinthians 16:5-7).

1 Corinthians 16:5-7, “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.”

This very well may be the same travel plans that Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 1:15 to 2 Corinthians 2:1 that were changes. Since an adversarial group within the church of Corinth had accused Paul of being fickle and unstable with his promises, Paul felt compelled to explain his reasons for a change of plans by giving a Scriptural basis. He explains that he did not come at this time in order to spare them of grief from the punishment that he would have inflicted upon them. He bases the authenticity of his ministry to them on the seal of the Holy Spirit that worked mightily among them through the hands of him and his co-workers.

Verses 11-21

Paul’s Call to the Corinthians for Reconciliation In 2 Corinthians 5:11 to 2 Corinthians 7:16 Paul calls all of the Corinthians back to reconciliation with God and himself. He first launches into a lengthy explanation of his ministry of reconciliation as he serves as an ambassador of Christ reconciling the world unto God (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). He then beseeches the Corinthians not to receive God’s grace in vain, and he exposes the purity of his plea by showing them his hardships (2 Corinthians 6:1-13). One way to ensure their reconciliation was to come out from among the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), and to receive Paul as their spiritual father (2 Corinthians 7:1-4). Then, as a father, Paul illustrates his fervent love for them, both by his anxiety over the report of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:5-7), and by the “sorrowful letter” that was sent to by the hand of Titus (2 Corinthians 7:8-16).

The Lost Letter to the Corinthians - Because 2 Corinthians 6:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1 seems related to the theme that Paul refers to in his “lost letter” to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9) and because it intrudes itself rather awkwardly into the text of 2 Corinthians, some scholars speculate that this is part of that first letter. Moreover, 2 Corinthians 6:13 provides an excellent connection to 2 Corinthians 7:2. However, other scholars argue that this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with unbelievers in general, rather than misconduct within the church and that this is a digression, which is typical of the Pauline epistles, rather than a passage inserted at a later date. Furthermore, manuscript evidence supports the entire unity of 2 Corinthians, as do the early Church fathers.

1 Corinthians 5:9, “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:”

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:11 “and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences” Comments - Paul tells the Corinthians that he trusts they will be made manifest to their consciences. He did not say, “…to your eyes,” because the eyes see only in the natural. The conscience is the voice of the heart. In other words, Paul is asking them to judge him from their hearts. If they would search their hearts, they would see a difference between him and his adversaries. He states this in the next verse by saying, “that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.” (2 Corinthians 5:12)

2 Corinthians 5:12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

2 Corinthians 5:12 “For we commend not ourselves again unto you” Comments - Paul and his companions commended themselves to the Corinthians during his first 18-month ministry among them. At that time he demonstrated himself to be of a pure heart and sincere motive and a true servant of God. He now tells them in 2 Corinthians 5:12 that he is confident that he does not have to go through that process of commendation again and trusts them to accept him as at the first.

“but give you occasion to glory on our behalf” - Comments - The outward evidence of this acceptance is when they boast of him as their spiritual father.

“that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart” Comments - This boasting of Paul should be their response to these Jewish emissaries who down play Paul’s importance at Corinth.

2 Corinthians 5:13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

2 Corinthians 5:13 Comments Being “beside oneself” means being out of one’s mind. In contrast, being sober means being of a sound mind. One example of how Paul was beside himself in the presence of the Corinthians can be found in his previous epistle to them. When teaching them how to operate in the gifts of utterance in an assembly he refers to speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:22-25) as an occasion for the unlearned to call them mad. Thus, tongues makes a person appear “beside himself.” He added that prophecies serve to convict the unbeliever so that he will conclude that the truth is in them. This would correspond to “being sober.”

1 Corinthians 14:22-25, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.”

Smith Wigglesworth interprets 2 Corinthians 5:13 within the context of the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, saying, “You can be beside yourself. You can go a bit further than being drunk; you can dance, if you will do it at the right time. So many things are commendable when all the people are in the Spirit. Many things are very foolish if the people around you are not in the Spirit. We must be careful not to have a good time in the Lord at the expense of somebody else. When you have a good time, you must see that the spiritual conditions in the place lend themselves to it and that the people are falling in line with you. Then you will always find it a blessing.” [64]

[64] Smith Wigglesworth, Smith Wigglesworth: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings, ed. Roberts Lairdon (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1996), 340.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

2 Corinthians 5:14 Word Study on “constraineth us” Strong says the Greek word “constrain” ( συνέχω ) (G4912) literally means, “to hold together, to compress, arrest,” and figuratively, “to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy.”

2 Corinthians 5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us” Comments - Paul is saying that God love “urges him on,” or “controls him.” We usually consider that the source of the love of Christ is present within us by the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. However, it has been my experience that others who pour forth God’s love to others can also be a source of love. For example, my love for several men of God who have been my mentors motivates me to serve the Lord with the compassion that they show to me. It is the love of God within them that is then poured forth to me that compels me to walk as they walk and to serve Christ with all of my heart as they do. God can certainly use others to compel the saints towards service; for love is contagious.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

2 Corinthians 5:15 Comments - The idea of “henceforth” means from the point of coming to Jesus for salvation and onwards. The preposition “for” is the dative of advantage in the Greek. We are to live, not for our advantage, but for the advantage of Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

2 Corinthians 5:16 “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh” Comments - This phrase is similar to what Paul told the Corinthian church in his first epistle.

1 Corinthians 2:15, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

They no longer understand things after the flesh, but see and judge all things from a spiritual perspective. Paul is saying that he looks at each human being as a soul in need of redemption.

2 Corinthians 5:16 “yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh” - Comments - Scholars have made a number of speculations as to the exact meaning of this phrase, but Alfred Plummer gives one of the most sensible interpretation by saying before Paul’s conversion, he knew Christ as a “heretical” teacher who was “condemned by the Sanhedrin” and “crucified by the Romans.” [65]

[65] Alfred Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburg: T. & T. Clark, Ltd., c1915, 1985), 177.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” Comments - Paul used the phrase “new creature” in his epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 6:15).

Galatians 6:15, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature .”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “old things are passed away” Comments - What are these old things that have passed away? We certainly have our same body and our same mind when we are saved. One thing we know has been done away with is our past sins and guilt. For the Jews, the burdens of the Law have passed away. Since we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God, the bondages and fears of this world are broken off of us (Hebrews 2:15).

Hebrews 2:15, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 Comments - When we are in Christ, we are new creatures in the sense that our spirits have been made brand new. We still live in this fleshly body, for Paul has just told the Corinthians that they still had this “earthly tabernacle” (2 Corinthians 5:1). We still have our same mind with its memories and emotions. However, we now have the nature of God living on the inside of us, so that we no longer desire the fleshly indulgences of this world, but the things of God.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:18 Comments As we lift up Jesus, we partake of the ministry of reconciliation.

John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”

John 8:28, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”

John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 Comments - In Christ All Things Are New - As a consequence of the truth that Christ died for all man, and those who accept Him are to now live for him (verse 15), Paul draws several conclusions. First, we are no longer to see men from an earthly, fleshly view, because we partake of that same spiritual life that Christ partook of at His resurrection. We now see all men in need of Christ the Savior (verse 16). Secondly, those who accept Christ become new creatures, with all of their past sins being forgiven (verse 17). So with this spiritual revelation comes responsibility, for God has now called us into the ministry of reconciling the world unto Him through the preaching of the Gospel (verse 18).

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:19 “To wit” Comments - NASB, “namely.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” Illustration - See 1 Corinthians 1:11 on how a husband and wife get back together.

1 Corinthians 7:11, “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 “not imputing their trespasses unto them” Word Study on “imputing” Strong says the Greek word “imputing” ( λογίζομαι ) (G3049) means, “to take an inventory, i.e. an estimate.” BDAG says it means: (1) “to reckon, to calculate,” in the sense of counting or of evaluating, or (2) “to think (about), consider, ponder, let one’s mind dwell on,” or (3) “think believe, be of the opinion.” BDAG says in 2 Corinthians 5:19 it means, “to count something against someone.” The TDNT says in classical literature, this word was used in two ways: (1) in commercial activities, “in charging up, the object or debt to be paid,” and (2) “to deliberate, conclude” as an act of thinking through something logically.

Comments God no longer holds our sins against us. He no longer keeps a record of our failures. Under the Law, a person would have to keep track of his sins in order to make the proper number of trespass offerings at the Temple. When Jesus came to earth, He stopped holding men’s sins against them. Throughout His earthly ministry, He never condemned a sinner for their sins, although He did rebuke the Pharisees for their condemnation of Himself and others. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). For example, when the woman taken in adultery was brought to Jesus, He said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 3:17)

John 3:17, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

John 8:11, “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Scripture Reference - Note a similar passage in Isaiah 1:18.

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 Comments - In order for God to reconcile the world unto Himself, He works to reconcile people to one another in love, Jews reconciled to Greeks and other Gentiles, and Christians to one another in order to bring them all into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” Illustration - Someone who is sent to deliver a message is an ambassador (Luke 14:32).

Luke 14:32, “Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage , and desireth conditions of peace.”

2 Corinthians 5:20 “we pray you in Christ's stead” Comments That is, “we beg you in behalf of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:20 Comments When we speak God’s Word to others, it is as it God Himself had spoken. When they accept our words, God saves them. If they reject it, God brings judgment down upon them. We see judgment and curses fall daily in the lives of Christians who reject parts of the Bible and we see it in sinners who constantly resist the truth. Note:

John 13:20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

1 Thessalonians 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

1 Thessalonians 4:2, “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 4:8, “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:1 Comments In 2 Corinthians 6:1 Paul begs the Corinthians not to receive God’s grace in vain. He is begging them as a fellow worker with God, as though God was beseeching them through Paul. He made a similar statement about God’s grace when he was telling the Galatians that they had fallen from grace by going back to the Law.

Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2 Corinthians 6:2 Comments There is coming a day when God will not hear the sinner’s cry. Jesus told us the story of the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man cried for mercy and was not heard; for his “time of acceptance” and “day of salvation’ was past. On the day of the Great White Throne Judgment God will not hear the cry of those who have not been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

2 Corinthians 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

2 Corinthians 6:3 Comments Many ministers who have not walked blameless, but have fallen into sin, have caused the world to blame all of the Christian ministers as being evil. Therefore, it has brought reproach upon the entire body to Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:10 Comments In the natural Paul’s lifestyle appeared as one of sorrow, yet in the kingdom of God it was an occasion of great rejoicing. In the natural, Paul and his companions looked poor, yet in the kingdom of God they were causing many people to become rich. In the natural it seemed that Paul had nothing, yet by the standards of the kingdom of God Paul was a possessor of all things. This is how Peter could tell the lamb man at the Gate Beautiful, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

2 Corinthians 6:11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

2 Corinthians 6:11 Comments We have spoken freely, openly and frankly to you. Our heart is open wide to you (Paul is speaking openly and honestly from his heart).

2 Corinthians 6:12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

2 Corinthians 6:12 Word Study on “straightened” Strong says the Greek word “straightened” ( στενοχωρέω ) (G4729) literally means, “to hem in closely, and figuratively, to cramp.” BDAG says it means, “restricted” in this verse.

2 Corinthians 6:12 Word Study on “bowels” Strong says the Greek word “bowels” ( σπλάγχνον ) (G4698) literally means, “an intestine,” and figuratively, “pity, sympathy.” BDAG says it means, “inward parts, entrails,” and figuratively, “the seat of the emotions, heart.”

2 Corinthians 6:12 Comments The Corinthians were not being restricted by what Paul was teaching, but they were being restricted by their own desires of this world. Many times preachers preach against doing worldly things, such as going to movies, watching worldly television, worldly sports, all of which can be idolatry. Many of these don’ts are preached so that a Christian will learn to stop feeding the desires of his flesh, which war against his spirit, keeping the child of God weak and lacking of that close, intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ that God has called us to (1 Corinthians 1:9).

1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 6:13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

2 Corinthians 6:13 Word Study on “recompence” Strong says the Greek word “recompence” ( ἀντιμισθία ) (G489) literally means, “requital, correspondence.” BDAG says it means, “exchange” in this verse.

2 Corinthians 6:13 Word Study on “enlarged” Strong says the Greek word “enlarged” ( πλατύνω ) (G4115) means, “to widen.”

2 Corinthians 6:13 Comments Paul is saying, “You open your hearts to us also (Hear and receive our words in your hearts).”

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” Comments - God created us to have relationships with our fellow man. We were created to experience these relations in every aspect of our lives, in marriage and in parenting, in the local church with our pastor and with elders and youth, and in society with our neighbours and on our jobs with coworkers. All of these relationships are designed to impact and influence our lives. Thus, relationships are a necessary part of our spiritual journey; for God uses them to develop our Christian character and to receive impartation of gifts and anointings.

Those relationships that God guides us into will impact us for good. Those relationships that we orchestrate in the flesh will impact us for the worse. We cannot have relationships with other people without being influenced by them. The most valuable virtue that God is protecting in our lives is our faith. This is why Paul says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

Satan knows power of relationships. He will try to bring God’s children into relationships with unbelievers. The very thing that nonbelievers will tear down is our precious faith in God.

2 Corinthians 6:14 “for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness” - Word Study on “fellowship” Strong says the Greek word “fellowship” ( μετοχή ) (G3352) means, “participation, intercourse.”

Word Study on “communion” Strong says the Greek word “communion” ( κοινωνία ) (G2842) means, “partnership, participation, (social) intercourse, benefaction.”

2 Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

2 Corinthians 6:15 Word Study on “concord” Strong says the Greek word “concord” ( συμφώνησις ) (G4857) means, “accordance.”

2 Corinthians 6:15 Word Study on “Belial” Strong says the Hebrew word “belial” ( בְּלִיַּעַל ) (H1100) literally means, “worthlessness, without profit.” James Orr says t his word was used frequently to describe wicked men in the Old Testament: “son(s) of Belial” (Judges 19:22, 1 Samuel 2:12; 1 Samuel 25:17, 2 Samuel 23:6, 1 Kings 21:10, 2 Chronicles 13:7), “man of Belial” (1 Samuel 25:25, 2 Samuel 16:7; 2 Samuel 20:1), “daughter of Belial” (1 Samuel 1:16), “children of Belial” (Deuteronomy 13:13, Judges 20:13, 1Sa 10:27 , 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7). In other words, it describes those who are under the influence of Satan. James Orr says this word later became synonymous with the term “Satan” during the inter-biblical period, as testified in the Jewish Apocalyptic writings and the Dead Sea Scrolls. [66]

[66] James Orr, “Belial,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

2 Corinthians 6:15 Word Study on “part” Strong says the Greek word “part” ( μερίς ) (G3310) “portion, share.”

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 6:16 “as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Comments - 1 Corinthians 6:16 b is a quote from Leviticus 26:11-12.

Leviticus 26:11-12, “And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

We also have a similar phrase used in Jeremiah 32:38 and Ezekiel 37:27.

Jeremiah 32:38, “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:”

Ezekiel 37:27, “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

2 Corinthians 6:16 Comments - Jesus promised that if we would love Him, then He would come and dwell in us.

John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Comments - Note a similar verse to 2 Corinthians 6:16:

1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” - Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - This quote in 1 Corinthians 6:17 is taken from Isaiah 52:11.

Isaiah 52:11, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”

However, the phrase, “and I will receive you” is missing from the LXX as well as the Massoretic Text. Neither is this phrase found further down in the passage of Isaiah. Either Paul is:

(1) paraphrasing, or

(2) he is quoting from an additional Old Testament passage as he does in the next verse (2 Corinthians 6:18), or

(3) he is quoting from a translation of Isaiah 52:11 that no longer exists.

For this reason, the third edition of the United Bible Society’s Greek New Testament suggests that the phrase “and I will receive you” is taken from Ezekiel 20:34; Ezekiel 20:41.

Ezekiel 20:34, “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.”

Ezekiel 20:41, “ I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.”

Illustration - God pitched the tabernacle outside the camp of the children of Israel.

Exodus 33:7, “And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.”

2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:18 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - This quote is most likely taken from 2 Samuel 7:14.

2 Samuel 7:14, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”

However, we can find some similar wording in Isaiah 43:6 and Jeremiah 31:1; Jeremiah 31:9.

Isaiah 43:6, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;”

Jeremiah 31:1, “At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

Jeremiah 31:9, “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises” Comments - 2 Corinthians 7:1 serves as a conclusion to his previous argument of separation from the world. In his argument Paul quotes from a number of Old Testament passages. In these quotes are a number of promises of God coming to dwell in us and being our Father.

2 Corinthians 7:1 “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” Comments - Goodspeed translates this phrase by saying, “and by reverence for God make our consecration complete.” Paul refers to the process of a believer’s entire sanctification in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 by referring to the sanctification of his spirit, soul and body. The word “flesh” can defined as the carnal mind with the physical body. So in 2 Corinthians 7:1 the phrase “flesh and spirit” can be used to refer to the entire man, the outward man and inward man, or the redeemed and unredeemed make-up of man; for he follows these words by saying “perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” which refers to the entire man. If we refer back to 2 Corinthians 5:12, we see this two-fold application to the human make-up, “…them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.” Thus, Paul seems to be referring to the entire make-up of man without getting into the deeper concept of the three-fold make-up of man.

1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:12, “For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.”

Regarding the phrase “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,” Andrew Wommack teaches that it is a reference to the filthiness of those in the world, basing this interpretation upon the preceding statements in 2 Corinthians 6:11-18, where Paul urges the Corinthians to separate themselves from such unclean people. Wommack teaches this interpretation because he does not believe the spirit of the believer can become defiled. Paul is not saying to cleanse ourselves “of” a filthy of the flesh and spirit,” but he says to cleanse ourselves α ̓ πο ́ (from) these things, since the Greek preposition α ̓ πο ́ denotes a separation from ( BDAG). Thus, Paul would be saying to the Corinthians that by no joining ourselves with unbelievers, they are cleanse themselves and the church from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit that characterizes these men. [67]

[67] Andrew Wommack, Gospel Truth (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Andrew Wommack Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

2 Corinthians 7:1 “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” Comments - Paul has just given the Corinthians the example of how he persuaded others to be reconciled to God because of the fear of the Lord that he knows. Paul has very likely seen visions of hell as well as heaven, and had seen firsthand the depths and terrors of hell.

2 Corinthians 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

2 Corinthians 7:2 “Receive us” Comments Alfred Plummer paraphrases this phrase as “make room for us (in your hearts).” [68] This same Greek verb χωρε ́ ω (G5562) is used in Matthew 19:11 in the same sense. Jesus said that not all men were able to “receive” His words.

[68] Alfred Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburg: T. & T. Clark, Ltd., c1915, 1985), 213.

Matthew 19:11, “But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”

Paul has just asked them to repay him by opening their hearts to him (2 Corinthians 6:13). After exhorting them he again asks them to make room in their hearts for his words in 2 Corinthians 7:1.

2 Corinthians 7:2 “we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man” Comments - The three negatives particles come before each of their three corresponding verbs in 2 Corinthians 7:2. In the Greek emphasis is given to the first words, so that Paul is emphasizing the fact that in no single incident has he done any wrong what so ever to the Corinthians.

Saul of Tarsus had persecuted the church and put Christians to death. How could he say that he had wronged no man, knowing his past? It was because he understood the blood of Jesus and the power of the blood of the Lamb. Saul of Tarsus died on the Damascus road. The new man, Paul, was holy in God's eyes.

2 Corinthians 7:3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

2 Corinthians 7:3 “ye are in our hearts to die and live with you” - Comments - Paul had given his life’s energy and often risked death to bring the Gospel to these Corinthians. He says here that his love for them is what he has centered his life’s efforts on and that he is willing to die for them.

Illustration - As I was praying in tongues one night, I could sense how deeply a man’s heart will become concerned for souls as he agonizes over bringing them to Christ and to perfection in Christ. Then this verse was quickened to me. Note also Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

2 Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

2 Corinthians 7:4 “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation” - Comments In the verses that follow (2 Corinthians 7:5-7), Paul gives an example of how he rejoiced amongst tribulation.

2 Corinthians 7:5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

2 Corinthians 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

2 Corinthians 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

2 Corinthians 7:8 “I do not repent, though I did repent” Comments - Paul is glad now for having written the hard letter, but when he had to write it, he did repent. That is, he was sorry for having to do it (1 Corinthians 2:4).

2 Corinthians 2:4, “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”

When the church at Corinth repented, then Paul was made glad. The next verse tells us that he was glad for their repentance, and not for having to make them sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:8 Comments - Paul knew that in the long run it would do good.

2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

2 Corinthians 7:9 “that ye might receive damage by us in nothing” - Comments - Or, “be injured in any way by Paul, or that he not cause any to stumble.”

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

2 Corinthians 7:12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

2 Corinthians 7:13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

2 Corinthians 7:14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

2 Corinthians 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

2 Corinthians 7:16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-corinthians-5.html. 2013.
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