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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
2 Corinthians 5

 

 

Verses 1-9

2 Corinthians 5:1-2. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, —

In this poor body it is our lot often to groan, but the groan is a hopeful one, for it is a birth-pang, and it will bring joy in due time: “For in this we groan,” —

2 Corinthians 5:2-6. Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if it be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, —

That is a blessed experience, “always confident.” There are some Christians who are never confident, and some who are afraid of being confident. I know some who, if they see this holy confidence in other Christians, begin to tremble for their eternal safety. Never mind about them, brother, if God gives you a holy confidence in him, hold fast to it, and do not let it go whatever anyone may say.

2 Corinthians 5:6-9. Knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

That is our main business; whether we live or whether we die is of no consequence at all, but to be accepted of Christ, so to live is to be well pleasing to God. Be this our heavenly ambition, and may the Holy Spirit graciously enable us to attain to it!

This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Corinthians 4 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-9.


Verses 1-21

1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Is not this grand courage on the part of the apostle? With all the world against him, and himself “alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,” he looks at the new body, the new house that God is making for him, and he reckons that, to shuffle off this mortal coil will be no loss to him, since, when he loses the tent in which he lives here, he will go to “a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

2-4. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, —

We are not impatient to enter the disembodied state, —

4-6. But clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, —

Note the ground of the apostle’s confidence. He is quite sure that, inasmuch as Christ rose from the dead, so all his followers must; and though they die in the Lord’s service, yet shall they not be losers thereby, but they shall the more speedily ascend to their reward. “We are always confident,” —

6-9. Knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

To be well-pleasing to God everywhere, in everything that we do, should be the one aim of a Christian, whether he is in the body or out of the body.

10-13. 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, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade them; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 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. For whether we be beside ourselves, —

And men said that these apostles had gone out of their minds. Festus said to Paul, “thou art beside thyself, much learning doth make thee mad;” so Paul says, “Whether we be beside ourselves,” —

13. It is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

“In either case, we have but one object, and that is, to glorify God through your salvation.”

14-15. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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.

The life of the saved man must never be lived for himself; he is false to his profession if it is so. He must henceforth live as earnestly for God as, aforetime in his unregeneracy, he lived for himself, for he now has a new life which is not his own, to do with it as he pleases, but it belongs entirely to him who purchased it with his own most precious blood.

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.

We do not see Christ with our natural eyes, we do not hear his voice with our natural ears, he is to us now a spiritual Personage, who communicates with our spirits through his own ever-blessed Spirit.

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

There could not be a greater change than that which is wrought by regeneration, it is a new creation, the passing away of the old, and the making of all things new.

18-21. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. 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. 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.

This exposition consisted of readings from Romans 5:1-10; and 2 Corinthians 4; and 2 Corinthians 5.


Verses 9-21

2 Corinthians 5:9-11. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 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.

The outside world did not understand the preachers of the gospel; they thought them dreamy enthusiasts, earnest about nothing at all. But Paul says that God understood him, and he hoped, too, that the consciences of those to whom he was writing had also understood him. The truly faithful minister of Jesus Christ may know that there are two approvals that he will be sure to get, — the approval of his Master, and the approval of men’s consciences. Their prejudice may condemn him, his mode of oratory may not suit their fancy, but their conscience must give quite a different verdict; it must approve the faithful preaching of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 5:12-13. 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. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

Happy Paul who, as a preacher of the gospel, could write, “If you say that we are beside ourselves, that we are really mad upon religious matters, — well, it is to God that we are so. It is not every madman who can say that. “Or if you tell us that we are too serious and sober, it is your case, your cause, that makes us so.” Well may we be sober and solemn when we think of the danger in which men’s souls continually are.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15. For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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.

The true-hearted Christian judges himself to have died when Christ died, and, henceforth, he feels that he must not live for any object but the glory of Christ.

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.

He is gone back to glory, so our object is not to win a kingdom for him anywhere upon earth. Our aim now is spiritual, the proclamation of his truth, the winning of a kingdom for him in the hearts of men.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 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.

The work of reconciliation he committed to his Son; the word of reconciliation he has committed to us. It is our high privilege to tell the tidings of the wondrous work by which God is reconciled, so that, without any violation of his justice, he can have mercy upon those who have offended against him.

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.

As if Christ himself stood here, and pleaded with you, he bids his ministers plead on his behalf. In the name of God, he bids us beseech you to be reconciled to God. Ambassadors do not generally beseech men; they stand on their dignity, they make demands for the honour of their sovereign; but Christ’s ambassadors know of no dignity which should keep them from pleading with men.

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.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/2-corinthians-5.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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