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Assured hope of saints.
II CORINTHIANS V.
A. D. 58. In hope of glory, and of the general judgment, Paul laboured to keep a conscience void of offence; to live as a new creature and preach
L FOR we know that, if our earthly house, this body, were destroyed, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, everlasting 2 in the heavens. For in this body we groan, earnestly desiring to put on our habitation 3 which is from heaven: (Since, having put on 4 this, we shall not be found naked.) For we that are in this body groan, being burdened: not that we desire to put off this, but to put on the other, so that mortality may be swallowed 5 up of life. Now he that hath wrought us to this very thing, is God, who hath also given 6 unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Wherefore
appear to be owing, not to them, but to the powerful operations of the grace of God. In the prosecution of their labours, both ministers and private christians must expect trials and difficulties. While without are fightings, they will experience perplexities, and fears within. Yet amidst persecutions and sufferings the most violent, they shall not be left or utterly cast down so as to despair; but will find the presence and grace of God sufficient for them. And how animating is it to look forward, and realize the joy and glory set before them! And to be
enjoy, he styled them light.A far more exceeding, &c. Nothing can equal this sublime passage. Paul uses a form of speaking, which intimates that no language, no metaphor, can equal the subject of his thoughts. We look not. Or aim not at, &c. Not fixing our hopes and minds on present things, but on those of heaven.
All must be judged.
we are always of good courage, as we know that, while we are present in the body, we are absent from the Lord; (For we walk by faith, 7 not by sight:) We are of good courage, I say, 8 and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore 9 we earnestly strive, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we 10 must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, I we persuade men; and we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest in your consciences also. For we commend not 12 ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion
CHAP. V. 1, We know that, &c. We have the fullest persuasion arising from the divine promises, and the finished work of the Saviour, &c.— This body. Greek, this tent. The Hebrews so called the body, and so did some of the philosophers of Greece. See Mich. Anmerk. I have followed this critic, and the Syriac translator, in giving the sense.——————A building of God, &c. I refer this to the heavenly state and blessedness, called the city of God, Heb. xi. 10, the new Jerusalem; what our Saviour calls his father's house, in which there are many mansions, John xiv. 2.Not made with hands, &c. Not the work of men, but formed by the skill and goodness of God, and whichwill endure for ever.In the heavens. This limits what is said before, to the future state of glory and happiness. See Ch. iv. 17, 18.
2. Earnestly desiring to put on, &c. I consider the verb in the middle voice, as it is, 1 Cor. xv. 50. and regard the preposition, T, as only intensive. Indeed, sometimes the prepositions add no force to the simple verb.-Our habitation which, &c. I refer this to the resurrection-body. This may be said to be from heaven, or heavenly, in opposition to our present frail body, which is originally of the earth, and so called earthy; and because it is destined to dwell in heaven for ever, not being subject to any changes, or to dissolution any more. Hence the apostle calls it a spiritual body, 1 Cor. 15. At the second coming of our Lord, the soul will put on this changed, this immortal body, formed like the body of Christ, and will be for ever invested with it, as the glorious vehicle of its operations and services.
3. Not be found naked. I explain this verse from the following, where "to put off this," or to be unclothed, as the common version, signifies, to die,
assured that the afflictions they are enduring are even now working for their good; and that they will continue but for a short season, and be followed with a weight of glory exceeding all comprehension, and everlasting in its duration. Let then the outward man perish; let time and sufferings wear it down, and wear it out; but O that the inner man may acquire new strength and holy vigour, while the heart is fixed, not on things now seen and possessed, but on those we hope to see and possess for ever.
or to be in the state of the dead; so to be "naked" is to be in the state of the dead. See Piscator.
4. Groan being burdened. So he had said before; but he now mentions the cause of it, being burdened with sins, infirmities, afflictions, &c.—Not that we desire, &c. Not that we are unwilling to bear our present sufferings, if God may be glorified, nor do we long so much to put off this mortal body; but to put on our immortal one, so that death may, &c. Some refer this to the desire of having the body changed without dying, as those will, of whom the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. xv. 51, &c.; but this supposes that the apostle imagined the final coming of Christ at hand, which numerous passages prove he could not do.
5. To this very thing. To this holy desire of future blessedness, and of a glorious resurrection.Is God who, &c. No other could raise and maintain such exalted and glorious expectations; and we have received the earnest of that state, in the works and gifts of the Spirit.
6-8. As we know, &c. For this sense of wi, see Matt. v. 15.; xiii. 22. Rom. xi. 35, &c. We are courageous amidst our difficulties, and even ready to suffer death for the sake of Jesus, as we know that while here we can but walk by faith in the promise of future blessedness in the presence of Christ; but when we leave this state we shall be for ever with him.
9. We earnestly strive, &c. We are ambitious of being accepted of hits both in this state and in another. These verses prove that the apostle expected to enjoy happiness immediately after death. See Phil. i. 23.
10. Done in his body. During his continuance in it. This is a solemn thought, and should awaken all to prepare to meet their God.
11. Knowing therefore, &c. How terrible this judgment will be to unfaithful ministers, and to all who persist in their sins, "we persuade men” to embrace the gospel, that they may be saved; and so we manifest our integrity before God; and we hope in your consciences also.
The love of Christ.
II CORINTHIANS V.
Reconciliation by Christ.
somewhat to answer those who glory in appear13 ance and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is for God: or whether we be of 14 a sound mind, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were they 15 all dead: And that he died for all, that they who live should not longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died, and rose again for 16 them. Wherefore henceforth know we no man according to the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now 17 we know him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: the old
to glory on our account, that ye may have things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, 18 who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of this reconciliation; Namely, that God through 19 Christ reconciled the world unto himself, not accounting their trespasses unto them; and hath committed to us the doctrine of this reconciliation. We are therefore ambassadors 20 in Christ's stead, as though God besought men by us we intreat, in Christ's stead, "Be ye reconciled to God." For he hath made him 21 a sin-offering for us, who knew no sin; that we might be accounted righteous before God through him.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER V. We are admonished to reflect on our bodies as frail and perishing. They are but like a tent, formed of perishing materials, and designed soon to be removed. From disease, sickness, and various others causes, how often does the heart feel anguish, and the soul groan and complain, while united to flesh and to blood. Blessed be God for the assurance of a better habitation for the soul, at the great rising day; a spiritual and heavenly body, not subject to any of the burdens of sin, pain, sorrow and death; and in the mean time, giving us the hope of a happy intermediate state with Christ, so that when the soul leaves and is absent from the body, it is immediately present with the Lord. Yet as a part of our selves is our body dear to us, and we should not so much desire to put it off, as to put it on when refined and immortalized, that we may honour God in it for ever. Let us then walk by faith in these delightful truths.
3. We also learn that the best proof of our being in Christ, and
2. We learn that it should be our constant care so to act that we may be accepted of God. How should the thought of the last judgment of reconciliation to God and acceptance with him, is our being made new
Do not commend, &c. From this it is próbable some imputed his defence of himself to pride and vain-glory; and had he been silent, would have accused him of guilt -Not in heart. Paul suggests that his opponents were condemned by their own consciences.
13. Beside ourselves. As some affirm, because we expose ourselves to dangers, and even death, we can assure them, we do it for the glory of God; or "be of a sound mind," acting with prudence, and shunning persecution, we do it to promote your welfare. We cannot be indifferent to these noble objects.
14. For the love of Christ, &c. In becoming incarnate, and dying on the cross.- Were all dead. Were not only obnoxious to death, and condemned to it for their offences, but were dead in their trespasses and sins.
15. That they who live, &c. This verse, in connexion with the preceding, justifies the sentiment, that as to the merit of the Saviour's death, it is infinitely great and sufficient for all Adam's race; but it is only actually effica eious to those to whom it is applied, and who, by faith in his blood, obtain the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.Not live to themselves. Not live as if they owed nothing to the Saviour, but should devote their persons, influence, talents and life to his glory.
16. According to the flesh. We have no respect in our ministry to Jew or Gentile, rich or poor.-- -Known Christ according, șe. Expecting him to be a temporal king, and hoping for wordly advantages; and even after his asVOL. III. PART XXII. Ss
affect us, when we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, and render an account of all that we have done? That day must be a day of terror to all impenitent and unbelieving sinners. They have boldly transgressed the divine laws, and despised the goodness and mercy of God, and can only expect judgment without mercy. And how should the assurance that this day of the Lord cometh, inspire ministers with holy earnestness and zeal in the work of the Lord? Knowing the terror of the Lord, they should endeavour to persuade men to avoid it, by now listening to reason, prudence and wisdom, and embracing the salvation of Christ. How should the love of Christ constrain us to repentance, and to a life of holy obedience to him. We were dead in sin, and exposed to eternal condemnation, and he died to redeem us to God, and raise and exalt us to heaven. Let him be then the object of our confidence, love and delight.
cension, many of us thinking it right to observe and follow the law, yet now being better instructed, we know, &c.
17. A new creature. Or, "there is a new creation" in the heart and principles of that man. "Old things," his ignorance, prejudices, and pursuits, have passed away; and all things, as to his views, feelings aud desires, are become new. There is a complete renovation of mind, as well as change of conduct.
18. Now all things, &c. The Arabic version, "all these things," and Beza, Grotius, and others so render. All things relating to this great change are of God, who laid the foundation of it in giving his Son to be a propitiation for our sin, and thus reconciled us to bimself.
19. Through Christ reconciled, &c. For the construction of the Greek, see Mark xiii. 25. comp. with Matt. xxiv. 25. Acts xvi. 12. Eph. v. 5. Coloss. iii. 1. In the last we have the same position of the verb substantive and participle. Through Christ, as an atoning sacrifice.
20. Ambassadors in, &c. Christ was God's chief ambassador, and the apostles as commissioned and seut by him, were his substitutes and representatives. —— Besought men. I supply men, as the apostle states in what wanner he fulfilled his commission, not to the Corinthians only, but to all, as is evident from the next clauses.
21. A sin-offering, &c. The term has often this sense in the Septuagirt, and the best expositors só regard it here. Righteous before God, &c. I re321
Labours and sufferings.
as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened and not killed; As grieved, yet always re- 10 A. D. 58. Paul asserts his own faithfulness in the ministry; he exhortethjoicing; as, poor, yet making many rich; as
to flee the society and pollutions of idolaters.
WE then, as fellow-labourers of God, beseech you also not to receive the grace of 2 God in vain: (For God 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 3 salvation :) Giving no offence in any thing, 4 that our ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as ministers of God, by much patience, by afflictions, by necessities, 5 by distresses, By stripes, by imprisonments, by tumults, by labours, by watchings, by fastings; 6 By purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love un7 feigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the right and left hand armour of 8 righteousness; By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and 9 yet true; As unknown, and yet well known;
creatures. The old things of our sinful, carnal state must be done away, and all things in reference to our tempers, feelings and pursuits become new. Self-confidence and self-righteousness must cease; and under the influence of just views of our guilt and unworthiness, we must be led to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. From God the first proposal of these blessings proceeds: and the disposition to listen to
gard čixeisovn as used metonymically for the persons who receive, by faith in Christ, the justifying righteousness of God, and have rendered accordingly. This sense is generally attributed to the phrase here.
CHAP. VI. 1. Fellow-labourers, &c. See note, 1 Cor. iii. 9.——Grace of God, &c. In sending the gospel among you; but see that you improve the ́privilege. Macknight renders the first clause, “Now, fellow-labourers, we beseech you also, &c." He supposes that what Paul says, verses 1—10, is addressed to the teachers at Corinth; contrary, I think, not only to the general opinion of expositors, but to the scope and design of the apostle. Indeed what he relates, applied to none but himself and fellow-apostles.
2. God saith. See Is. xlix. 8, where Messiah is introduced interceding for the Gentiles; and this answer is returned.-Now is the day, &c. Now is the prayer of Messiah granted; now is salvation proclaimed among the Geutiles.
4-10. Approving ourselves, &c. For this sense of the verb, see Wetstein, on Rom. iii. 5.; and this verse justifies the insertion of the pronoun in the former—“ By patience" under reproaches—“ by afflictions" in our persons; by enduring necessities and wants; by distresses of mind; by stripes inflicted on us; by imprisonments for the sake of the gospel; by dangers in tumults; by labours, watchings, and fastings, to promote the spiritual interest of the church; by purity in conduct; by knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom; by long-suffering and kindness towards offending brethren; by the gifts of the Holy Spirit; by love the most sincere to Christ and his cause; by
having nothing, and yet possessing all things. Our mouth is opened to you, O Corinthians, II our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened 12 in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now as a recompence for this, (I speak as unto 13 my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not 14 unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with iniquity? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with 15 Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an unbeliever? And what agreement 16 hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, "I will dwell among them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." "Wherefore come 17 out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not any unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a 18
it and accept of it is his work. How rich the grace that bestows such a favour on rebels, and sends ambassadors even to intreat them to embrace it. Let us then be thankful that this embassy of love and mercy is sent to us; and through the sin-offering of Christ, and his consummate righteousness, may we be accounted righteous, and inherit the blessing of everlasting life.
preaching the word of truth; by the power of God exerted in a miraculous manner.-- -The right and left hand, &c. Soldiers used the spear and sword with the right hand, and the shield with the left. The apostles had no other armour than a righteous cause, supported by a holy and righteous conduct... As deceivers, in the opinion of some, and yet true ministers of Christ; as dying, and behold, we live, being preserved in a wonderful manner; as poor, yet making many rich by our instructions, and by the blessings which they receive through the gospel; as having nothing in this world, yet in reality possessing and enjoying all things here as working for our good, and having the assurance of sharing with Christ his heavenly inheritance.
11. Is enlarged. With love and affection. The apostle speaks in a most pathetic manner, and indicates his concern for their best interests.
12, 13. Straiteped in us, &c. In our affection to you, but in yours towards us. Now, as a recompence, for our affection to you, "be ye also enlarged" in love to me.
14. Unequally yoked. Macknight, "discordantly yoked." Most suppose that the apostle alludes to Deuter. xxii. 10. Some apply this wholly to marriage, while others confine it to a participation in the religious rites of heathen worshippers. It forbids believers to unite in religious fellowship with unbelievers; but has no direct reference to marriage.
15. What concord, &c. Does Christ give the same precepts, or enjoin the same rites as Belial, the false god, who profiteth not his worshippers? He calls any false god Belial, "a thing of nought, which cannot profit any."
HAVING therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness 2 in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, 3 we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you, for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die together and to 4 live together. Great is my freedom of speech towards you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I exceedingly abound in joy in all our affliction.
For, when we had come into Macedonia,
II CORINTHIANS VII.
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER VI. 1. We learn what examples, in every christian excellence as well as in sufferings, Paul and other ministers of the gospel were. United as fellow-labourers in God's vineyard, they intreated those that heard them not to receive that display of grace, made in the gospel, in vain. This is what was promised to Messiah, as the reward of his sufferings; and in this season only can acceptance and salvation be found. O let none neglect it; especially considering it is recommended by the blameless and holy conduct of those who preach it. They endeavour to win souls, and approve themselves faithful, by their purity and knowledge, patience, kindness and unfeigned love, in all their sufferings, trials and labours. By the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and by the word of truth and complete armour of righteousness, they are called to resist temptations on every side, whether arising from honour or dishonour, from evil or good report; and how must it rejoice their hearts to reflect, that their situation and labours in the sight of God, are so different to what many imagine. While accounted deceivers, poor, contemptible, dying men,
16. Ye are the temple of, &c. As a christian society; and to you what God promised to Israel, is now freely vouchsafed. See Levit. xxvi. 11, 12, aud Jerem. xxxi. 33.
17, 18. Among them. Among idolaters. See Is. lii. 11, in the Septuagint.And will be a father, &c. These precise words are not in any place in the Old Testament; but they are contained as to the sense in many places, where God calls his people his sons or children. 2 Sam.vii. 14. Jerem. xxxi. 9. CHAP. VII. 1. These promises. Mentioned Ch. vi 16-18.- -Defilement of flesh, &c. All impure actions and desires, such as are but too common at Corinth. 2. Receive us. With enlarged affection, as we have not acted as your corrupt teachers have, having injured no one, corrupted no one by false doctrine, &c.
our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth 6 those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus ; And not by his coming 7 only, but by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, when he told us your earnest desire, your lamentation, your zeal for me; so that I rather rejoiced. For though I griev- 8 ed you by my epistle, I am not now concerned, though indeed I was concerned: for I perceive that my epistle hath grieved you for a short time only. Now I rejoice, not that ye were 9 grieved, but that ye were grieved to repentance: for ye were grieved in regard to God, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For grief in regard to God worketh repentance 10 to salvation not to be repented of; but the For be- 11 grief of the world worketh death.
3. Have said before. As to the sense, Ch. vi. 11, 12. 4. Freedom of speech. Respecting my own conduct, and my enlarged affection to you.
worthy to be execrated, yet they were teaching the truth, honourable, rich, possessing all things, and making many rich and happy.
2. We are also taught how careful believers should be to walk worthy of their holy vocation, and to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Indeed they should cautiously guard against every deviation from the purity of their faith, worship and obedience; and never be yoked with unbelievers in any of the peculiar privileges of the gospel. In this case the distinction between saint and sinner, believer and unbeliever, is merged in a mere outward ceremonial, and the church and the world become visibly one. Surely between the good and the evil, the sinner and the saint, there can be no real fellowship, any more than there can be an union between righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial. O let the followers of Jesus then come out. and be separate from sinners, as to participation in religious privileges, and God will receive and own them as sons and daughters, and will exercise towards them the care and love of a father.
5-7. Without were fightings. Oppositions and contentions from unbelievers; within fears, on account of weak believers, lest they should be discouraged. Earnest desire. To correct every thing agreeably to my first epistle; your lamentation for your past conduct, and your zeal and affection for me.
8. Though indeed I was concerned. Paul, though he wrote by the inspiration of the Spirit, yet was concerned in respect to the effects which his epistle might have on the Corinthians; and from this we learn that the consequences of it were not revealed to him. I have adopted the sense of Mintert and others, as I think repent is wholly improper.
9. Grieved in regard to God. For having incurred his displeasure, and acted in a manner so contrary to your duty and obligations.-Rereive damage. The event proves that as we intended only your benefit, so your very grief turns to your advantage, and does not occasion damage. "For grief in regard to God worketh, &c."
11. What diligence, &c. To reform what had been amiss; "what clear323
hold this very thing, that ye grieved in regard to God, what diligence it wrought in you, what clearing of yourselves! what indignation! what fear! what vehement desire! what zeal! what revenge! In all things ye have proved 12 yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not so much for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that had suffered the wrong, as that our care for you might be made mani13 fest to you, in the sight of God. We were therefore comforted in your comfort: yea, and we the more abundantly rejoiced for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by 14 you all. For if I had gloried to him in any thing concerning you, I am not ashamed; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying, which I made before Titus, is found 15 a truth. And his tender affection is more abundant towards you; while he remembereth the obedience of you all, how ye received him
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER VII. 1. We see with what holy freedom and boldness truly faithful ministers may address those among whom they labour. They can appeal to them as witnesses of their uprightness, integrity, and disinterestedness; and can enforce their exhortations to purity and holiness, by their own example. The promises are, however, the strongest motives and encouragements; and they impose on all believers the highest obligations. Are we received into God's family? Do we enjoy the rank and privileges of hissons and daughters? Let us then cleanse ourselves from all defilements of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. What pleasure does every minister experience, when he hears and sees that the people of his charge are thus pursuing the great end of their christian vocation; and if his admonitions, and faithful, but strong expostulations, have been instrumental in producing such an effect, his joy will be increased.
ing of yourselves" to Titus for your conduct; "what indignation" at yourselves for any improper conduct; "what fear" lest some judgment should fall an you; "what vehement desire” of doing what I enjoined; “what zeal" for my honour; "what revenge" or punishment have you taken on the incestuous person. -Have proved yourselves. Clear at present of fomenting divisious, and encouraging the licentious.
with fear and trembling. I rejoice therefore 16 that in every thing I have confidence in you.
12. Our care for you, &c. Some good mss. and other authorities read, "your care for us;" and Newcoine, Wakefield, and other critics adopt it. Griesbach places it in the margin as nearly equal to the text.
13-16. For the joy of Titus. Who found you so ready to submit to our directions, and thus established the opinion which I had given of you. You so engaged his affection, by your ready obedience, as to justify the confidence I had, and have still, in you.
CHAP. VIII. 1. The grace of God, &c. Some render, " very liberal gifts bestowed by the churches, &c." Extraordinary generosity, &c. The word
A. D. 58. He exhorts them to a liberal contribution to the saints of Jerusalem, by the example of others, the love of Christ, and their own spiritual profit, &c.
Now we make known to you, brethren, the 1 grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that, in a great trial of 2 affliction, the abundance of their joy, and their deep poverty hath abounded in their rich liberality. For to their power I bear witness, yea, 3 and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves; Beseeching us with much 4 intreaty, concerning their gift, and the joint ministration of it to the saints. And this they 5 did, not as we expected; but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the & will of God: So that we desired Titus, that, 6 as he had begun to do this, so he would also
2. We learn the nature of genuine repentance from the fruits with which it is accompanied. What can show more clearly a genuine sense of the evil of sin, than such a grief as the Corinthians felt and exercised? They saw they had dishonoured God, and were distressed chiefly on this account; and the apostle comforts them, by showing that their grief was not that arising from worldly considerations, and issuing in death, but from a higher source, and was the fruit of repentance unto salvation. What indignation against themselves for their offences; what fear lest they should offend again in the same manner; what zeal to purify the church, and what vehement desire to obey the will of God did they manifest! Such conduct gives pleasure to those who hear of it; and especially do ministers rejoice, when men are brought to repentance, and to the acknowledgment of the truth, that they may be saved. They glorify God for the comfort which, by such instances of success, he imparts.