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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 9

Verse 9. Wherefore. dio. In view of the facts stated above. Since we have the prospect of a resurrection and of future glory; since we have the assurance that there is a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and since God has given to us this hope, and has granted to us the earnest of the Spirit, we make it our great object so to live as to be accepted by him.

We labour. The word here used (filotimoumeya, from filov and timh, loving honour) means, properly, to love honour; to be ambitious. This is its usual classical signification. In the New Testament, it means to be ambitious to do anything; to exert one's self; to strive, as if from a love or sense of honour. As in English, to make it a point of honour to do so and so.—Robinson, (Lex.) See Ro 15:20; 1 Th 4:11. It means here, that Paul made it a point of constant effort; it was his leading and constant aim to live so as to be acceptable to God, and to meet his approbation wherever he was.

Whether present or absent. Whether present with the Lord, (2 Co 5:8,) or absent from him, (2 Co 5:6;) that is, whether in this world or the next; whether we are here, or removed to heaven. Wherever we are, or may be, it is and will be our main purpose and object so to live as to secure his favour. Paul did not wish to live on earth regardless of his favour, or without evidence that he would be accepted by him. He did not make the fact that he was absent from him, and that he did not see him with the bodily eye, an excuse for walking in the ways of ambition, or seeking his own purposes and ends. The idea is, that so far as this point was concerned, it made no difference with him whether he lived or died; whether he was on earth or in heaven; whether in the body or out of the body; it was the great fixed principle of his nature so to live as to secure the approbation of the Lord. And this is the true principle on which the Christian should act, and will act. The fact that he is now absent from the Lord will be to him no reason why he should lead a life of sin and self-indulgence, any more than he would if he were in heaven; and the fact that he is soon to be with him is not the main reason why he seeks to live so as to please him. It is because this has become the fixed principle of the soul; the very purpose of the life; and this principle and this purpose will adhere to him and control him wherever he may be placed, or in whatever world he may dwell.

We may be accepted of him. The phrase here used (euarestoi einai) means to be well-pleasing; and then to be acceptable, or approved, Ro 12:1; 14:18; Eph 5:10; Php 4:18; Tit 2:9.

The sense here is, that Paul was earnestly desirous of so living as to please God, and to receive from him the tokens and marks of his favour. And the truth taught in this verse is, that this will be the great purpose of the Christian's life, and that it makes no difference as to the existence and operation of this principle whether a man is on earth or in heaven. He will equally desire it, and strive for it; and this is one of the ways in which religion makes a man conscientious and holy; and is a better guard and security for virtue than all human laws, and all the restraints which can be imposed by man.

{1} "we labour" "endeavour" {*} "labour" "strive"

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