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12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
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. (D)
(D) Ver. 1-18. The sincerity, trials, and triumphs of Paul and his brethren.Having, in the preceding chapter, stated the superior excellence of the gospel above the law, St. Paul here states the encouragement which he and his brethren derived therefrom in its promulgation. Having thereby obtained mercy themselves, they were anxious, at all risks, to preach it for the salvation of others, and determined to do it with the greatest simplicity and integrity. If, indeed, their gospel was hidden beneath a vail, it should not be by any artifice of theirs. They would not leave it concealed under the vail of Mosaic types and ceremonies, to which the Judaizing teachers were prone to return, nor would they veil it with the false philosophy of the Greeks or Asiatics; neither would they adulterate or debase it by any dishonest arts, such as vintners of those times (as well as of our own) were known to practise. If the gospel they preached was veiled, it was veiled only to those who were perishing through their own obstinacy and unbelief: whose minds Satan, "the god of this world," hath blinded, "lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine upoù them."
Here observe-"1. That God and Satan are placed in contrast: the latter darkens the understanding by his influences, whence the Jews call him Samael, the god who blinds; but the true God, on the contrary, illuminates the understandings of men by the grace of his Holy Spirit. [He is light, and in him is no darkness.] 2. That this work of illumination in the mind is compared to the first creation of light out of darkness,' as being wrought in the same sovereign, efficacious, and instantaneous manner." (Hist. Def. 2nd edit. p. 186.)
When Satan is, however, called the "god of this world," we must not understand it as conferring upon him any title of honour, any more than our Lord's calling him "the prince of this world" (John xii. 31) conferred on him a rightful dominion. As a prince he is an usurper, and as a deity an idol: he is a prince without right, and a god without divinity.
When the apostle says, "We preach not ourselves,' "the declaration may be fairly understood to imply that they sought neither to gratify their vanity, nor promote their secular interest, nor to raise a religious party; by all which motives, it is to be feared, the Judaizing teachers who opposed him were more or less influenced,
Ver. 12. Death worketh in us, &c.-i. e. we are dying daily that you may live.'
Ver. 13. As it is written.-See Ps. cxvi. 10. Ver. 14. Knowing that, &c.-That is, we regard not the sufferings of our bodies, however fatal, since we know that, if killed, our bodies shall be raised again at the last day. See 1 Epist. xv. 19, &c.
Ver. 17. Light affliction.-Matt. xi. 30, the same epithet," light," is applied by cur Lord to the yoke and burden which he lays on us. It may be labour -it may be suffering-but both are light, extremely so, compared with the reward.-A far more, &c. -Upon this passage the eloquent Chrysostom re
marks, that the apostle here "opposes things present to things future, a moment to eternity, lightness to weight, affliction to glory: nor is he satisfied with this, but he adds another word, and doubles it, saying, hyperbole upon hyperbole (so the Greek), that is, "a greatness excessively exceeding."
Ibid. Weight of glory.-This is an Hebrew idiom: the same word which in that language signifies weight, signines also glory.
Ver. 18. While we look." The word (skopein, says Mackn.) properly signifies to look at a mark which we intend to hit "-to aim-so Doddr,
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.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 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.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for
the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord :
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done
EXPOSITION—Chap. IV. Continued.
The apostles preached not to advance their fame, their interest, or their authority; but as the faithful servants of Christ, solely to promote the glory of their Master and the salvation of mankind. For our parts (as if he had said), we are but frail and earthen vessels, of little value and of less strength; yet, worthless as we are, to us is committed the invaluable treasure of the gospel; and we, therefore, in the midst (though continually exposed to death) of dangers and of enemies, are preserved that we may be to you the means
CHAP. V. Ver. 1. If our earthly house of this tabernacle.-The Hebrew term for" house "(Beth) is of very extensive use. It seems used for a tent, Gen. xxvii. 15; compare Heb. xi.9. Mr. Harmer says, "The Persians call a richly ornamented tent a house of gold." Mackn. renders this verse, "When our house, which is a tent, is destroyed." So the Greek particle (can) is used for when, John xii. 32; 1 John iii. 2. We also prefer "destroyed " to" dissolved," because the word strictly means to take or throw down, or pall to pieces, which is peculiarly applicable to a "tent."
Ver. 2. For in this [tabernacle or tent] we groan earnestly; desiring to be clothed.-To be clothed with a house," seems a harsh figure to us, but is quite in the Jewish taste; the Book Zohar, on Exod. xxiv. 18, says, Moses was "clothed with the cloud;" so we read in the book of Revelations, of an angel "clothed with a cloud," and of a woman clothed with the sun." (Rev. x. 1; xii. 1.) The word "house," is also used for any part of dress: a veil is the "house of the face;" a glove, the house of the fingers." The sacred writers also apply the term clothed, as we do habit; so they speak of being clothed with humility, or
with shame (1 Pet. v. 5; Ps. xxxv. 26), much as we talk of a habit of virtue and of vice; and not only so, but they speak of being clothed with righteousness," or " with trembling" (Job xxix. 14; Ezek. xxvi. 16); and (perhaps the boldest metaphar of all) the neck of the war-horse is described as being " clothed with thunder." (Job xxxix. 19.) See an interesting Note in Townsend's New Test Arr. vol. ii. p. 347.
Ver. 5. The selfsame thing.-Mackn. "This very
(desire)."- -The earnest of the Spirit-See chap.
Ver.6. Whilst we are AT home in the body, are absent-Mackn. " from home"-from the Lord, i. e. while at our earthly, we are necessarily fre our heavenly home.
Ver. 8. Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.-Mackn. From home out of the body; and to be at home with the Lord."
Ver 9. We labour.-Marg, Endeavour." Macka. "Strive earnestly." Doddr." Make it the height of our ambition." Whether present or absent. -Mackn. Whether at home or from home”— We may be accepted of him.-Mackn. "acceptable to him."
in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (E)
11 of the Lord, we persuade men; but
Knowing therefore the terror
(E) Ver. 1-10. The desire of immortality, the expectation of a future judgment, and the practical influence of these doctrines. In the opening of this chapter the apostle draws a beautiful comparison between the feeble body which we here inhabit, and which he compares to a tent -which is a temporary erection easily removed; and the permanent habitationthe everlasting mansions which our Saviour is gone to prepare for all his people. This tent of human flesh is (as we may say) far from weather-proof; it is liable to cracks, and rents, or (to drop the metaphor) it is exposed to a variety of mortal ills, as well as to the attacks of cruel enemies. We, therefore, "groan, being burthened," not merely from a desire to rid ourselves of "this mortal coil," but from a desire to enter into that immortal residence which is provided for us in another world-whereinto Christ, our fore-runner, is for us entered.
We here pause a few moments to remark upon the evidence which this chapter affords of an intermediate state between death and judgment. Dr. Sam. Clarke, in a judicious discourse from this text remarks-1. That we must all shortly be absent, or separate from the body. 2. That this state is not a state of absolute insensibility; but, 3. to good men, a state of great happiness, a being present with the Lord. 4. The consideration of this intermediate happiness is a great comfort and Support against the fear of death, we are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, &c. 5. This intermediate state, though a state of happiness, is by no means equal to that happiness which good men shall be possessed of after the resurrection." (See Robinson's Claude, vol. ii. p. 397, Note 1.)
Of these propositions we shall here offer some confirmatory proofs. 1. That there is an intermediate state is clear; for, when we are "absent from the body," we are present with the Lord;" and, 2. that it is not a state of mere insensibility is most evident, from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, on which see our Expos. of Luke xvi. 19-31. 3. That it is a state of happiness to good men may be safely in
ferred from our Lord's promise to the penitent thief, when on the cross; on which turn also to our Expos. of Luke xxiii. 39-43; as also from the dying words of Stephen, Acts vii. 29. 4. That the consideration of this intermediate state was a great support to Paul himself, is abundantly evident from his desiring to "depart and be with Christ," which would be very unaccountable if he did not hope to meet with him till the resurrection, which it is evident from his own writings he did not expect for many years, if not many centuries, to come. See 2 Thess. ii. 1–12. This doctrine receives farther confirmation from chap. xii. 1—4; Phil. i. 20-23; 1 Peter i. 8, 9; Rev. ii. 7, vi. 9. And there are many passages in the devotional parts of the Old Testament, already noticed, which plaiuly indicate a like desire to be" absent from the body and present with the Lord," as Psalm lxxxiv. 11, &c.
The practical influence of this doctrine, in exciting to diligence and activity, is a strong presumption of its truth, which may be farther strengthened by considering the benumbing consequences of the contrary hypothesis. Try the effect of telling a wicked man that he shall be punished at the end of a thousand years or more, and will it not harden him in sin? This is not the way in which the apostles preached the "terror of the Lord," in order to persuade men to repentance. (ver. 11.)
To that end the apostles urged the most important doctrine of a future judgment; and, instead of placing at a great and uncertain distance that awful period, bring it near: "The day of the Lord is at hand" -"The judge standeth before the door." (Rom. xiii. 3; James v. 9; Heb. ix. 27.) And this they might do with the greatest propriety, since the day of death is thus near, which we have reason to believe fixes the happiness or misery of every individual of mankind, by a scrutiny equally decisive, though not equally public, with the last judgment. Whether the passage now before us (ver. 10) refers to the former or latter event, we presume not to decide. The one will fix the other: for the deci sions of the Supreme Judge admit neither of revision nor appeal.
Ver. 10. Judgment seat.-Doddr. and Mackn. "Tribunal," See Matt. xxv. 31-40.
Ver. 11. The terror of the Lord-that is, his ter rible judgments against sin. See Heb. x. 31.
we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
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.
13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
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.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh,
[of Jesus Christ;
yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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 ;
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.
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.
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. (F)
EXPOSITION-Chap. V. Continued.
(F) Ver. 11-21. The constraining power of the love of Christ, and the doctrine of reconciliation.-St. Paul again assures the Corinthians of his affection towards them, notwithstanding all the insinuations of his enemies. What those insinuations were we can only gather from his replies: we may fairly infer, however, from ver. 13, that they brought against him a charge similar to that of Festus-that he was mad, though indeed they were not so polite as the governor, who attributed his derangement to excessive study. (Acts xxvi. 24.) He tells them, whether he and his coadjutors were beside (or carried beyond) themselves, it was to God, that is, in the promotion of
his glory; and if they were sober and in good earnest, it was for their sakes: "For (saith he) the love of Christ constraineth us."-" Whether," says M. Superville ( pious Lutheran divine) "we here understand the love of Christ towards us, or our love towards him, it is of little importance: we may join both together, for it is certain, that his love and ours must meet before our hearts are entirely capti vated by him. It is his love that gives birth to a mutual affection in us: it is his fire that enkindles ours."-But the Corinthians might object, Why this zeal in your ministry? It arises from the conclusion, that "if one died for all, then were all
NOTES-Chap. V. Con.
Ver. 12. In appearance.-Marg. "In the face;" i. e. in outward shew, "putting (as we say) a good face upon their conduct.""
Ver. 13. To God.-Mackn. "For God;" i. e. for his glory.
Ver. 14. Then were all dead-i, e, all for whom Christ died were under a sentence of condemnation, or it needed not that he should offer an atonement for them.
Ver. 16. Henceforth know we no man after the flesh-i. e. we make no difference in our ministry as to Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor. &c., for all are equally guilty, and stand in need of the same mercy. See Rom. ii. 10, &c.
Ver. 17. He is-Marg. "Let him be"-a new creature.-Doddr. ("There is) a new creation;" all things are in such a mind become new.
Ver. 18. And all things are of God-The blessed and only Creator: not from man, nor from any earthly
Ver. 19. Committed unto us.-Marg. "Put in us." So Mackn. An allusion, perhaps, to chap. iv. 7.
Ver. 20. Beseech you ........ pray you.-Dr. Mackn. rejects this supplement, and Mr. Maclaine supplies the word "men.". -In Christ's stead.-"When Christ was in the world, he pressed this treaty of reconciliation; and we [his apostles and inferior ministers] rise up in his stead, to urge it still farther." "
Ver. 21. Made him to be sin.-Doddr. and Mack. render it, 66 a sin-offering ;" and the latter remarks, "There are many passages in the Old Testament where sin means a sin-offering, as Hos. iv. 8; als in the New Testament, Heb. ix. 26-28; xiii. 11.
dead." As our object is not theological controversy, we shall not think it necessary to enter into the question how far this term all here extends. Thus far is certain, that Christ died for both Jews and Gentiles-for men of all nations, of all characters, and all professions; and if he died for all these, then, certainly, they all were dead; and, if he died for them, it was that they should live to him: it is, therefore, that faithful ministers are so earnest for their conversion. Every thing in Christianity has a practical bearing, and the truth and importance of every doctrine may be fairly estimated by its tendency to promote the salvation of mankind.
St. Paul, therefore, laying aside all partialities, national or sectarian, aims alone at the great object of personal conversion, which he presses upon all men as the main object of his apostolical commission-“ Be ye reconciled to God."
It is worthy observation, that the apostle here says nothing of reconciling God to man-that is not the work of men or angels. The God whom we offended reconciles us to himself through the Son of his love, and by means of his own appointment. "He hath made him to be for us a sin offering, who himself knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;" or, in plain terms, that we might be accepted as righteous before God, for his sake.
When it is said, that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself," we interpret St. Paul by his divine Master, who teaches us, that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John iii. 16.) So we understand St. Paul, that "God was in Christ reconciling the world
unto himself"-not that all the world should absolutely be saved, but those only who believe on him: for he that believeth not is condemned already." (John iii. 18.)
The apostle next opens his official character: "God hath given to us the ministry 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." (Comp. Rom. v. 9-11.)
The great duty of ambassadors in foreign courts, is to preserve or restore peace; to remove obstacles and prevent misunderstandings. God himself having restored peace by an act of grace to sinners, intreats them, by his apostles and ministers in all succeeding ages, not to oppose nor to neglect this act of mercy; but since God is reconciled to man by the obedience and death of his Son, to receive and adore the offered mercy, and become cordially reconciled, not only to his gospel but to his law, to his providential government and to all his will: for if any man be reconciled to God through Christ, and become a real, and not a nominal Christian only, he is from henceforward a new creature, endowed with new sentiments, new tempers, and new feelings. The love of Christ purifies and elevates his affections, gives a new direction to his energies and religious zeal, and opens to him prospects of celestial glory. At the same time, old prejudices, carnal principles, and sinful affections, subside and sink as the new
CHAP. VI. Ver. 1. As workers together.-The supplementary words," with God," seem here unnecessary, Macknight renders it, "As fellow-labourers. Some here refer the grace of God to ministerial gifts, and others to the gospel of the grace of God." See Gal. i. 6; 1 Cor. xv. 10. Titus ii. Il.-Gill's Cause of God, part 1, § 41. But
we rather connect this with the close of the preceding chapter, thus:- Receive not [this] grace of God in vain "-i.e the favour of being appointed ambassadors for God.
Ver. 2. For he saith-i. e. Jehovah to Messiah. Isa. xlix. 8; compare Heb. iii. 7.
Ver. 4. Approving.-Marg, "commending."