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

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

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Verse 1

2Co 5:1

2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know—This was not the knowledge of experience, or of human testimony, or of intuition. It was the knowledge which came to Paul by divine revelation. Only thus could he know of the resurrection and of the glorified body.

that if the earthly house of our tabernacle—The fleshly body in which we dwell. The principle of life that pervades different bodies gives to each the organic form that the life principle requires. The life principle is the distinguishing and controlling factor in the formation and existence of all organic bodies. It distinguishes one body from another. The life principle that gathers and shapes the body must precede the body and must endure when it passes away to give life and form to other like bodies to succeed it. The life principle in man is concentrated in the seed and preserved in the womb until it is brought into favorable conditions for its vivification, and gathers such matter and appropriates to the formation of such a body as the life principle demands.

be dissolved,—This body is perishable, is mortal, will return to the dust. “The body apart from the spirit is dead.” (James 2:26). When it is dead it ceases to be the abode of the spirit that gave it character, it ceases to be the person. Solomon says: “The dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returned unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.—We have a house or spiritual body from God that endures forever in the heavens. “God giveth it a body even as it pleased him.” (1 Corinthians 15:38). In the eternal world, God will give to each spirit such a body as it is fitted to wear. [Paul entertained no doubt whatever as to the res­urrection; “we know” and “we have” is his very positive lan­guage, as if it were already an accomplished fact, a present possession. So the prophets and inspired men generally speak of the purposes of God; they seize them by faith as already their own, not as if lying at a distant and uncertain future (cp. Hebrews 11:1). The assurance of apostolic men is remarkable. They never questioned for a moment the majestic revelations of God to them. Real as life, more real than death (for they did not doubt that the Lord Jesus might come again during their lifetime, and they should not die at all) was the certainty of the resurrection and glorification of their bodies.]

Verse 2

2Co 5:2

2 Corinthians 5:2

For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven:—In the mortal body we suffer, grow weary. As years and labors press upon us, we are burdened and sigh for rest. We groan from a sense of weakness, desiring earnestly to be immortalized, or freed from pain and suffering. The Christian through faith in the glory of the future yearns for rest from weariness and suf­ferings of mortality.

Verse 3

2Co 5:3

2 Corinthians 5:3

if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.—The earthworm, the larvae, in its chrysalis or cocoon, scarcely shows life or moves. In this state it remains, seems to be bur­dened by it, but it is protected and shielded by the earthly shell, while its pinions are pluming for a higher life. When this old shell is laid aside and in its new body, it rises and floats upwards toward the skies. The earthly shell has served as a protection, while the more glorious plumage has been growing into fitness for a higher life. While it is necessary to its higher life to lay aside the old shell when the new covering is ready, it would be destruction to it to strip off the old shell before the new body is ready. So as earthworms, we are clothed here for a time with earthly, fleshly bodies, while our spiritual bodies are being made ready for a higher life. When these are ready, and we are ready for them, then the earthly, fleshly bodies are laid aside that in our spiritual bodies we may be borne to the home made ready by the Savior. (John 14:1-3). God prepares the immortal covering while we are in the fleshly body serving him, and becoming ready for the spir­itual body from heaven. But if we be stripped of the mortal body before the spiritual body is ready, we shall be naked and in a ruined condition.

Verse 4

2Co 5:4

2 Corinthians 5:4

For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened;—In the fleshly mortal tabernacle we suffer and groan.

not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.—Not that we would lay aside the outward covering, and be left naked, but that we would be clothed upon with the im­mortal in which there will be no more weariness and sorrow. [Our obedience to the call of the gospel was accompanied by rejoicing in hope of the glory of God; but this hope was tested, for it is possible not to hold fast the confidence of the hope firm unto the end. It is tested or tried by tribulations; if we receive these tribulations as coming from God and submit to them, then we have the confidence, the confidence of trial borne well, and this doubles our hope. We hope not only be­cause of the general promises of the gospel, but because we are sure of God’s having given us such grace to sustain trials and persecutions that he intends us to partake of the future glory, according to the words of the apostle: “For if we died with him, we shall also live with him: if we endure, we shall also reign with him.” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).]

Verse 5

2Co 5:5

2 Corinthians 5:5

Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God,—Now he that prepared and made us ready for this state of immortal­ity is God. He does this by the training and discipline he gives those who obey him while here in the flesh.

who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit.—He sent the Holy Spirit to train and fit his disciples for the mansions he prepared for them. An earnest is a pledge or assurance that a promise will be kept. God has confirmed what he teaches by “signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” (Hebrews 2:3-4). Thus God has attested all his promises and all his teaching concerning all things through the apostles. This assurance or pledge we now have, filling us with joyous anticipation and glorious hope of the resurrection and eternal life herein set forth. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

Verse 6

2Co 5:6

2 Corinthians 5:6

Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord—While Paul had received the Holy Spirit, and this help, he was more confident of future blessings, and this made him feel that while he was on earth in the body he was absent from the Lord with the eternal glories of the spiritual bodies, so he desired to be with him.

Verse 7

2Co 5:7

2 Corinthians 5:7

for we walk by faith,—Faith in the promises of God concerning the future leads man to walk after the things of God. Faith is seeing by the Spirit. [The condition of our present state of being is that of believing. We do not know these things as they appear to the natural eye; it is by faith that we know them. The faith which “is assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1) is the element in which we live, so long as we are not present with those things. Being the ob­ject of faith, they are of course absent. We are conversant with the report of the heavenly things, not with the things themselves. We are absent, not present with the things that govern our life. Paul says: “That life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20). By faith Abraham “looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10); and by faith Moses “looked unto the recompense of reward” (Hebrews 11:26). “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13). “Belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). Faith is believing fully and appropriating by obedience whatever God promises or says in regard to anything. Walking by faith is taking every step we make according to his directions. We cannot hope for any­thing which God has not promised, or hope for that which he has promised without complying with the conditions upon which his promises are based. We cannot do by faith any­thing which God has not commanded.]

not by sight;—To walk by sight is to walk after the things of this world. [One walks by sight who makes mammon his god; lives for getting and hoarding, or else for spending and squandering; estimates worth by wealth, and will count him­self a happy man if he can die rich. A man who walks by sight, who cannot control his appetite or passion, cannot put aside the thing good for food or pleasant to the eyes even for the sake of avoiding tomorrow’s sickness, or a life of disgrace, finds himself again and again yielding to a temptation from which he has suffered; weakly lives and miserably dies the slave of that which his better nature condemns and despises, but to which his body of flesh and blood, made a tyrant by long yielding to it, ties and binds him. Again, a man walks by sight who allows himself to live for the admiration of other people. Thus, not only covetousness or self-indulgence in the lowest sense of the word, but vanity and worldliness and vul­gar ambition, all have their root in walking by sight.]

Verse 8

2Co 5:8

2 Corinthians 5:8

we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.—He was willing to leave the fleshly body, or die, and go home to be with the Lord, clothed with the immortal body.

Verse 9

2Co 5:9

2 Corinthians 5:9

Wherefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well-pleasing unto him.—Because of his anxiety to be present with the Lord, he labored to live according to God’s will so as to be sure of his approval, whether he was absent here in the flesh, or at home with the Lord in heaven.

Verse 10

2Co 5:10

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ;—The deeds and courses of all must be laid open to all when we come before the judgment seat of Christ.

that each one may receive the things done in the body,—We shall be judged according to the things done in the body. We cherish secret thoughts and cover up acts of which we are ashamed, but they will be laid open to God, angels, and men. How foolish to conceal things here to have them laid open be­fore the universe.

according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.—Each will be rewarded at that day with good or evil, as the deeds here have been according to or against the will of God. [Unto those who through faith in Christ obey him and con­tinue steadfastly in well-doing, seeking for glory and honor and incorruption, God will give eternal life; “but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrigh­teousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and an­guish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:8-11).]

Verse 11

2Co 5:11

2 Corinthians 5:11

Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord,—[The awe or reverent fear which the Lord excites or of which he is the ob­ject. Hence, it often stands for true devotion to God. “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10). “So the church . . . walking in the fear of the Lord . . . was multiplied.” (Acts 9:31). “Subjecting yourselves one to an­other in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21). Fear in all these passages means reverence and devotion. Paul’s earnest de­sire to meet with the approval of Christ caused him to always deport himself in a becoming manner. So it is clear that Christ was to Paul the object of his devotion; and that he felt himself responsible to him for his conduct.]

we persuade men,—The awe, the reverent fear which comes from the thought of the fearful retribution the Lord will in­flict on evil caused him to make such diligent efforts to per­suade men to turn from their sins so as to escape the wrath. [His untiring effort was to convince men of the truth. “He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4). That is, he endeavored to convince them of the truth concerning Jesus Christ. (Acts 28:23). Hence in the case before us, he means that he was really governed by the fear of the Lord and was sincere and honest, which the false teachers in Corinth had unjustly called in question.]

but we are made manifest unto God;—In doing this for them he commended himself to God as his servant.

and I hope that we are made manifest also in your con­sciences.—What commended him to God would commend him to the Corinthians, if their consciences were enlightened by the will of God. [His integrity of purpose and life was made manifest to God, and he desired that it should be also in view of the enlightened consciences of men, and under reverential fear of the Lord in full view of the account to be given before him, he would persuade men of this honesty of heart when, like some of the Corinthians, they were disposed to misjudge him.]

Verse 12

2Co 5:12

2 Corinthians 5:12

We are not again commending ourselves unto you,—He had commended himself as an apostle (2 Corinthians 3:1), and now he ex­presses a wish that his course might commend him to their consciences for good.

but speak as giving you occasion of glorying on our behalf,—He did not commend himself for his own good, but to give them occasion to glory on his account.

that ye may have wherewith to answer them that glory in appearance, and not in heart.—This would enable them to an­swer his opponents, who gloried in appearance, and were not true in heart. [These false teachers gloried in the outward appearance of things, such as man’s enthusiasms and visions (2 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 12:13), his eloquence (2 Corinthians 10:10), his letters of commenda­tion (2 Corinthians 3:1), his Jewish birth (2 Corinthians 11:22), his personal intimacy in the flesh with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:16). It was in these things that they placed their confidence, and in them they made their boast.]

Verse 13

2Co 5:13

2 Corinthians 5:13

for whether we are beside ourselves, it is unto God;—It is probable that this is in answer to charges made against him by the false teachers, saying that he was beside himself in his zeal and self-denial. If he was beside himself it was to pro­mote the honor of God.

or whether we are of sober mind, it is unto you.—If he re­strained his zeal, it was to secure their good. He became all things to all men. He here looks at the matter as they did, that he might sympathize with them, and help them in their difficulties.

Verse 14

2Co 5:14

2 Corinthians 5:14

For the love of Christ constraineth us;—As Christ’s ser­vant he partook of the love which Christ has for men. It con­strained him to give up all, that he might persuade some to believe in and obey Christ. He was willing to be contrasted with those who “gloried in appearance, and not in heart,” to be accused by false teachers of being beside himself, because he was constrained by the love of Christ to do so. [The con­straining power of Christian ministration and service is more effective and stable than it would be if it sprang from the fickle and varied affections of men. Jesus said to his disci­ples: “Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16).]

because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died;—All are dead in trespasses and sins, and need saving, so Christ died for all. “We behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffer­ing of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9). But not only the fact that Christ died for all, making it possi­ble for God to “be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26), must be considered, but also the effect this love should have upon men.

Verse 15

2Co 5:15

2 Corinthians 5:15

and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves,—Christ died that he might deliver those dead in sins from the bondage of sin, and lead them to live for his honor and glory. Unless we live such a life as to afford a stepping-stone to a higher life to those who come after us, our life is a failure. Jesus gave his life to lift up others and he expects his disciples to follow his example. In dying for us, he has done something for us so immense in love that we ought to be his forever. To make us his was the very object of his death.

but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.—All owe their redemption from death to Christ; and whether they love and obey him or not, they should do so, and should live no longer unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again; for none are their own. “We love, be­cause he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). The goodness of God leads men to repentance, and every one who does not repent despises “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long- suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Romans 2:4).

Verse 16

2Co 5:16

2 Corinthians 5:16

Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh:—He would follow no man after the flesh or for his family de­scent.

even though we have known Christ after the flesh,—Some had been drawn to Christ after the flesh, or because he was the seed of Abraham.

yet now we know him so no more.—Henceforth we will know him no more on this ground, but will know him only as the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. [No man became a Christian, or a child of God, because he was a fleshly descend­ant of Abraham, or even of the family of which Christ was born. Even the brothers of Jesus did not at first believe on him and were no better because of kinship to him. But this may mean that “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14); hence, Christ was manifest in the flesh and was known in the flesh; but after he ascended to heaven and is still in heaven in his glorified body, he is not known in the flesh, but is the Savior, Prophet, Priest, and King.]

Verse 17

2Co 5:17

2 Corinthians 5:17

Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature:—If any man, Jew or Gentile, has died to sin and been raised in Christ, he is a new creature—neither Jew nor Gentile. He has new ends, new purposes; his whole soul, mind, and body are consecrated to the new life in Christ. “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.” “Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:4; Romans 6:11). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27). “If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1). Thus before God and man, we take upon ourselves a solemn obligation, to consecrate, devote, and sanc­tify ourselves to the service of God. The soul, mind, and body with all their faculties and opportunities are buried out of self and raised in Christ Jesus, that we henceforth be his servants to do his will.

the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.—He has new ends, new aims, new purposes; his whole soul, mind, and body are consecrated to a new life in Christ. [He must abide in Christ, grow in the Christian graces in him. Hence, Paul says: “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14). In Christ he finds redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14), and all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).]

Verse 18

2Co 5:18

2 Corinthians 5:18

But all things are of God,—All things in the new relation in Christ are from God. They have come through the love and grace of God.

who reconciled us to himself through Christ,—In Jesus Christ God reconciles the world unto himself. God is not man’s enemy. He has no feelings of enmity against him. He has never harmed or wronged man in any way. “God is love,” and seeks man’s greatest good both here and hereafter. The supreme good of the human race was his consideration in the creation of all things. When sin and death entered into the world, through man’s transgression, God in grace and love provided through Christ the way of salvation. Hence, God is not the one to be reconciled. He is willing and able to save to the uttermost them that come unto him through Christ. (Hebrews 7:27). Man must turn from his sins, come to God through Christ, and in him, by a life of submission to his will, find, and complete a reconciliation with God.

and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation;—God com­mitted unto the apostles the ministry of reconciliation. He gave them the terms on which man could be reconciled to him, and sent them as ambassadors to make known the terms of reconciliation to man. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and all the miraculous gifts bestowed on the apostles that enabled them to work miracles were to confirm them as his apostles, and enable them to show to the world that they had the right and authority to proclaim the words of reconciliation. Had Jesus himself ministered the words of reconciliation after he had commanded the apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), he would have discredited them and their mission. God’s gifts and calling to a work once be­stowed on persons, he does not take them from them (Romans 11:29). Once having given the work into the hands of the apostles to make known the terms of reconciliation, he did not take it into his own hands, but confirmed them in the work.

Inasmuch as the Lord desired to make Saul an apostle, to commission him as a co-ambassador with the other apostles, he must appear unto him for this purpose to enable him to be an apostle. Apostles must have seen the Lord after his resurrec­tion (Acts 1:22), and be sent by him. He had not delegated that power to others. Paul says: “I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faith­ful, appointing me to his service.” (1 Timothy 1:12).

“Whereunto I was appointed a preacher and an apostle, ... a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:7). “And last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). The appearance to him after death was as to one “untimely born” to be an apostle. Jesus ap­peared to him to qualify him to be an apostle, but did not take upon himself the work that he had committed to the apostles and prophets. So when Saul had seen Jesus in his glory and learned who he was, Jesus sent him to Damascus to learn from his chosen disciple what he should do to be saved.

Verse 19

2Co 5:19

2 Corinthians 5:19

to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,—God through Christ has provided the way of salva­tion, hence he is willing and ready and able to save to the ut­termost all who come unto him through Christ. (Hebrews 7:25). [Sinners are at enmity with God. The friendship with the world is enmity with God. “Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4). The world hates God and Christ and the church. (John 15:18-19). To become reconciled to God is to put away this enmity, to love God, to become obedient to him, to imbibe his spirit, and to live in harmony and unity with him. To influ­ence and induce man to do this, God in his love sent Christ to be the propitiation of our sins.]

not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having com­mitted unto us the word of reconciliation.—God does not reck­on unto men their trespasses, or hold their sins against them, in that he forgives their sins upon their obedience to Christ. (Hebrews 5:7-9).

Verse 20

2Co 5:20

2 Corinthians 5:20

We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ,—An ambassador is one entrusted with a message from one sover­eign to another. The apostles were ambassadors sent by God to the world. As ambassadors to men, they, in the state of Jesus, besought men to accept God’s terms of reconciliation.

as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God.—This presents the picture of God having given his Son to die to redeem man, still through his chosen ambassadors tenderly beseeching men to be reconciled to God. This was no selfish good to God, but knowing the awful doom that awaited the impenitent rebels, he placed himself in the position of entreating them for their own good.

Verse 21

2Co 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21

Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf;—God had made Jesus who committed no sin to suffer as though he had sinned.

that we might become the righteousness of God in him.—That man who was guilty of many sins might be blessed as though he had not sinned, and be clothed with the righteous­ness of God. [Christ was accounted as one sinful and treated as such in bearing our guilt that we might be accounted as righteous while standing in him before God.]

Jesus took our nature and shared our sorrows here on earth, that we might partake of his nature and share his glories in heaven. This plea for reconciliation was to the Corinthians whom he called “saints.” This shows that while the reconcil­iation had begun by their entrance into Christ, it was not completed and perfected; and the entreaty was to complete and perfect the reconciliation. That reconciliation will be completed and perfected only when man in his heart and life has been brought into complete harmony with God, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

[Since some preachers speak of themselves as ambassadors of Christ, it is necessary to consider what it takes to consti­tute an ambassador. An ambassador must be chosen by the head of the government, and be ratified by the chief council of the nation. He must receive a commission and must be sealed with the great seal of the nation or power sending him. Having thus been duly qualified, he receives power at the ap­pointed time to do or transact business in the name and for the government sending him. Not until the appointed time, and at the appointed place, can he act. His power may be ei­ther ordinary or extraordinary, according to the terms of the instruction given. Jesus, after he had chosen his apostles, gave them a commission with extraordinary power, saying to them: “Whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23), “What things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18), and to Peter he said: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). And when he had accomplished his work on earth, just before he ascended to heaven, he appeared to his apostles, and said unto them: “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19), and gave them the seal of the court of heaven to their apostleship, saying: “And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up ser­pents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall re­cover” (Mark 16:17-18).

The record shows how fully and faithfully God bore the apostles witness with signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his will, “and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me: for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5), and when they had received power according to his word, Peter declared that Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, had poured forth that which they saw and heard. Then exclaimed, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:36-38), and no terms of remission of sins were ever pro­claimed by any of them except those preached on this occa­sion. The apostles were and are the ambassadors of Christ. They sustained a relation to the gospel that no other preach­ers in their day or since sustained or could sustain. They were the revealers of the gospel. The rest are simply proclaimers of what was revealed through the apostles.

No preacher today has any new revelation, nor can he make any valid claim to be a witness of the resurrection. He has no authority to declare the remission of sins, but can only point people to the apostle’s declaration on the subject. He may preach the gospel, but he can never reveal it. He has no mes­sage that is not already made known. Then he has not the credentials of an ambassador. He cannot work miracles. The apostles were instructed to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation, to every creature, and it is said: “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the words by the signs that followed.” (Mark 16:20). Now this gospel that was revealed through Christ’s ambassadors is given in trust to the whole church of Christ to proclaim that the whole world may know the manifold wisdom of God. Paul in his instruc­tion to a preacher of the gospel said, “The things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2). We need expect no more gospel ambassadors until the Lord has a new message for the denizens of earth. We need expect nor more miraculous performances, because there is no new divinely appointed message that needs the credentials of miracles to attest that it is from on high, and that the men bringing it are ambassadors of God.]

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-corinthians-5.html.
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