5:1 The House Not Made with Hands
SUMMARY OF II CORINTHIANS 5:
The Groaning for Deliverance. The Divine Cloth for the Soul Which Has Laid Aside Its Mortal. Tenement. Absent from the Body, but Present with the Lord. Appearing Before the Judgment Seat. Dying with Christ. New Creatures. The Ministry of Reconciliation.
For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved. Paul has spoken of looking for the things that are unseen and eternal (2Co 4:18). He now describes the body as only a tent dwelling, a temporary abode, in which we are camping during a journey. If death should come and the body be dissolved,
we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. There is another dwelling for the redeemed, the spiritual body described in 1Co 15:44, a heavenly and eternal body. To the saint, death is the exchange of the earthly tent dwelling for this eternal spiritual body.
5:2 For in this we groan. While in this fragile, suffering earthly body, Paul longed for the deliverance from it and for the house not made with hands (2Co 5:1), the spiritual body.
Desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. The thought is that when the spirit leaves the mortal clay, it lays off an old and worn-out clothing, and is to be clothed with, or invested in, its divine clothing.
5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. This shall come to pass, provided the spirit is clothed with a spiritual body at the resurrection, and not disembodied or naked. This is an allusion to the errors so prevalent at Corinth which he had combated in 1 Corinthians 15. See PNT 1Co 15:1. It was a Greek theory that when the spirit left the mortal body that it remained without a body, but Paul says: If we too, clothed upon, shall not be without an immortal body. See Meyer on this passage. Many hold that Paul's language is due to the belief that they would meet the Lord in the mortal body is that at his speedy coming. This, I am sure, is a wrong interpretation.
5:4 For we that are in [this] tabernacle. This tent dwelling for the journey.
Do groan, being burdened. Groan for deliverance from it, because the burden is so heavy.
Not for that we would be unclothed. It is not that we wish to be freed from a body, but we wish a better one; to lay off the old raiment that we may be
clothed upon with the heavenly raiment, the spiritual body, in order that this mortal shall put on immortality (1Co 15:53).
5:5 He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing. God gave us this longing for immortality. God not only gave it, but
the earnest of the spirit, a sure proof of the fulfillment of all that he has promised.
5:6 Therefore [we are] always confident. Because of what is stated in 2Co 5:5.
Knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. Paul knew, when danger threatened, that to be at home in the body was to be absent from the Lord's presence, and that if he was slain and thus left the body, he would go at once to the presence of the Lord.
5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. It is by faith here that we see the Lord, though absent from him.
5:8 We are confident. In the face of every peril, because we know that death, an absence from the body, would be
to be present with the Lord. Note here the doctrine of the immaterial nature of the human spirit. It puts aside the body to be clothed with a new garment. It is absent from the body but present with the Lord. The body is not essential to its conscious existence. It does not sleep because the body sleeps.
5:9 We labor, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. To Paul, death meant to be present at once with Christ, leaving the body behind. He labored so that, whether present or absent in the body, he might be accepted with Christ.
5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. This is a stimulus to labor so as to be accepted by Christ (2Co 5:9).
That every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body. The object of this judgment is that he may reap the fruits of what he has done in the body. The language here implies that our problem ends with our earthly life.
5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. The fear of the Lord (Revised Version). Fearing the Lord and accountable to him, he seeks to discharge his ministry by persuading men.
We are made manifest unto God. He sees our whole life and knows our motives as well as our deeds.
I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. His life was known to God and approved. He hoped, too, that it was known to the saints at Corinth and that he had a witness in their conscience, in the effect of his preaching.
5:12 We commend not ourselves again unto you, but rather gives them an opportunity of glorying over his work and life so that they can answer the false teachers who assail him.
5:13 For whether we be beside ourselves. See Ac 26:24. The same charge had probably been made at Corinth. If it were true, it was due to his zeal. His trances, visions and revelations his enemies imputed to madness.
[It is] to God. For God or to the power of God.
Or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause. If at other times he was the opposite, of sober mind (Revised Version), it was all that he might calmly reason with them and win them.
5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us. It was the power that moved him in all his conduct.
If one died for all, then were all dead. I thus judge that if Christ died for all, all in Christ have died with him to a life of sin. Baptized into his death we must be dead to sin. The next verse shows that this is the meaning. Compare Ro 6:3,4,6,11 Ga 5:4.
5:15 And [that] he died for all, etc. He died with this end in view, that those for whom he died and had life through him should not live for themselves, but for him who died for them. Thus Paul lived. His life was a consecrated life.
5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man according the flesh. As all have died to live new lives for Christ, they are not Jews and Gentiles; Romans, Greeks or Scythians, but all are Christians, not to be known as belonging to the old fleshly races longer.
Though indeed, we have known Christ after the flesh. The Christ risen and sitting on the throne as our Lord is not in the flesh, and the Christ to whom the church adores is that risen Christ.
5:17 If any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature. Because, crucified with Christ, buried into his death, we have died with Christ, and risen to walk in a new life (Ro 6:6,4,14). Born anew, we are new creatures who must live a new life.
Old things are passed away. The old life ended when we died and were buried.
All things have become new. The affections, the motives, the thoughts, the hopes, the whole life.
5:18 And all things [are] of God. These have all come from God through the gospel.
Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. Before we were at variance with God, and disobedient. Through Christ we have been brought to love God, to love his will, and hence to obey him. We have been changed, are new creatures.
The ministry of reconciliation. The gospel, the object of which is to transform men, and to bring them to peace with God.
5:19 That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. This explains more fully the ministry of reconciliation (2Co 5:18). It was not God who was to be reconciled, but the world. In Christ it is offered peace and shown the love of God.
The word of reconciliation is to persuade men to accept God's love and mercy, and to repent so that he can forgive their trespasses.
5:20 Then we are ambassadors for Christ. We have God's message, are his authorized messengers, and speak for God, beseeching you for Christ, and in his name, to be
reconciled to God by repentance and the obedience of faith.
5:21 Hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin. As a sinless substitute he suffered for our sins,
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. That our sins might thus be atoned for, the law satisfied, and we be forgiven and accounted righteous. Since we die with Christ, in him we pay the penalty, and are justified.