2 Corinthians 5:11-21

GodYesTherefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Observation

  • Paul knew the fear of the Lord
  • Because we know the fear of the Lord we persuaded others.
  • What we are is known to God.
  • Paul hoped that what he was also known to the Corinthians.
  • Paul was not trying to present his credentials to the Corinthians.
  • Paul was hoping to give the Corinthians something they could use to recommend him to others.
  • Paul was trying to give the Corinthians a way to answer Paul’s critics.
  • Paul’s critics were looking on outward appearances rather than what is in the heart.
  • The love of Christ controlled Paul.
  • If Paul was excited it is for God.
  • If Paul was sober minded it is for the Corinthians.
  • Christ, one, died for all.
  • Because Christ died for all, all have died.
  • Christ died so that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for Christ.
  • It is for the sake of those who live died and was raised.
  • We now do not think of anyone under the control of the flesh.
  • We use to think of Christ according to the flesh.
  • Anyone who is in Christ was been created new.
  • For anyone who is in Christ the old person is gone.
  • For anyone who is in Christ the new person has come.
  • Being created new is a gift from God.
  • God reconciled us to Himself through Christ.
  • God gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
  • The ministry of reconciliation is message that God, through Christ, reconciled Himself to the world
  • God reconciling Himself to the world and not holding the world’s trespasses against the world.
  • We are ambassadors for Christ.
  • God makes His appeal to the world through us.
  • Paul pleaded with the Corinthians to be reconciled to God.
  • God made Christ sin for our sakes
  • Christ did not know sin.
  • God made Christ sin so we might become the righteousness of God.

Interpretation

“Knowing the fear of the Lord,” That is a phrase not heard often today. We are too busy trying to create a teddy bear god, all soft and cuddly. We want a god we can control; a god who can do and does anything we ask. We want a god who is nothing to fear. That is not the God of the Bible. That is not the God Paul talks about. The God Paul is talking about is the God who rules the universe, a God of complete justice, a God who demands perfect conformity to His will. That is a God to be feared. But praise Christ, even with a God who is to be feared we can go boldly before Him because of the righteousness of Christ. As Paul said in the first part this chapter we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Our fear of God is not terror of condemnation. Rather our fear is a reverent fear of Christ’s displeasure at the choices we make and the things done “in the body” This is a healthy fear, a corrective fear from living a careless life.

It is the fear of the Lord that motivates us to persuade others to believe in Him. We understand the judgment they are under. We fear for them. We fear the wrath God will deliver to them. This is what motivated Paul. Therefore, we spend ourselves trying to persuade others of the mercies of God if they will avail themselves to them. We know full well that we in ourselves cannot persuade anyone. But we also know that God uses us to change the heart of others.

Paul says, “If we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” Paul was excited about God. He was “beside himself “with excitement. Christ is the source of our joy. But Paul’s serious side came out and He was sober minded for the sake of the Corinthians.

Whether we are engaged in private worship or public ministry we are to live for God and others not ourselves. Christ’s love for us controls us. This is not a passive love but an active love. Christ has exercised love towards us when He endured a death that was meant for us. He took our place. Therefore, in addition to the fear of God, Paul now brings in another motive, love. The knowledge of this love ought to drive us to be conformed to His will. The fear of the Lord ought to drive us away from that which displeases Him and toward whatever pleases God.

We have been made new creatures. We were once dead men walking around. When we were made alive we became new. Anyone whom Christ has redeemed is remade, is new.

Christ’s love causes us to no longer see others by worldly standards. We learn to see others from the standpoint of God’s grace. We see them from the vantage point of Christ’s act of salvation.

Christ has united Himself to us. This union with Christ summarizes our experience of redemption. It is why we live for God and others and no longer live for ourselves. Believers are elected (Eph. 1:4,11), justified (Rom. 8:1), sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2), and glorified (2 Cor. 3:18) “in Christ.” But here Paul focuses on our union with the Christ. Since Christ is the “last Adam,” a believer’s spiritual union with Christ is nothing less than participation in the “new creation.” Humanity is recreated in Christ (1 Cor. 15:45; Eph. 2:10). Christ initiates the new age, the age of messianic blessing (Gal. 1:4; Matt. 11:2–6).

We, the redeemed, are assigned the task of being God’s ambassadors to the rest of the world. God’s uses us as the vehicle to deliver His message of grace and judgment to the world.

God assigned the responsibility of our sin to Christ. This made it possible for Christ to be justly punished for our sin (Is. 53:6; 1 Pet. 2:24). Christ was our substitute, accepting the penalty of sin in our place.

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