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Chapter 5

5:1 If—be dissolved [ean—kataluthēi]. Third class condition, [ean] and first aorist passive subjunctive. The very word used [kataluō] for striking down a tent. The earthly house of our tabernacle [hē epigeios hēmōn oikia tou skēnous]. Rather, “If our earthly (see on 1Co 15:40 for [epigeios] house of the tent [skēnos], another form of [skēnē], tent, from root [ska], to cover).”; Appositive genitive, the house [oikia] is the tent. We have [echomen]. Present indicative. We possess the title to it now by faith. “Faith is the title-deed [hupostasis] to things hoped for” (Heb 11:7). A building from God [oikodomēn ek theou]. This [oikodomē] (found in Aristotle, Plutarch, LXX, etc., and papyri, though condemned by Atticists) is more substantial than the [skēnos]. Not made with hands [acheiropoiēton]. Found first in Mr 14:58 in charge against Jesus before the Sanhedrin (both the common verbal [cheiropoiēton] and the newly made vernacular [acheiropoiēton], same verbal with [a] privative). Elsewhere only here and Col 2:11. Spiritual, eternal home.

5:2 To be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven [to oikētērion hēmōn to ex ouranou ependusasthai]. First aorist middle infinitive of late verb [ependuō], double compound [ep, en] to put upon oneself. Cf. [ependutēs] for a fisherman’s linen blouse or upper garment (Joh 21:7). [Oikētērion] is old word used here of the spiritual body as the abode of the spirit. It is a mixed metaphor (putting on as garment the dwelling-place).

5:3 Being clothed [endusamenoi]. First aorist middle participle, having put on the garment. Naked [gumnoi]. That is, disembodied spirits, “like the souls in Sheol, without form, and void of all power of activity” (Plummer).

5:4 Not for that we would be unclothed [eph’ hōi ou thelomen ekdusasthai]. Rather, “For that [eph’ hōi] we do not wish to put off the clothing, but to put it on” [all’ ependusasthai]. The transposition of the negative [ou] weakens the sense. Paul does not wish to be a mere disembodied spirit without his spiritual garment. That what is mortal may be swallowed up of life [hina katapothēi to thnēton hupo tēs zōēs]. “Only what is mortal perishes; the personality, consisting of soul and body, survives,” (Plummer). See on 1:22 for “the earnest of the spirit.”

5:6 At home in the body [endēmountes en tōi sōmati]. Rare verb [endēmeō] from [endēmos] (one among his own people as opposed to [ekdēmos], one away from home). Both [ekdēmeō] (more common in the old Greek) and [endēmeō] occur in the papyri with the contrast made by Paul here.

5:7 By sight [dia eidous]. Rather, by appearance.

5:8 We are of good courage [tharroumen]. Good word for cheer and same root as [tharseō] (Mt 9:2,22). Cheer up. Are willing rather [eudokoumen]. Rather, “We are well-pleased, we prefer” if left to ourselves. Cf. Php 1:21f. Same [eudokeō] used in Lu 3:22. To be at home with the Lord [endēmēsai pros ton Kurion]. First aorist (ingressive) active infinitive, to attain that goal is bliss for Paul.

5:9 We make it our aim [philotimoumetha]. Old and common verb, present middle, from [philotimos] [philos, timē], fond of honour), to act from love of honour, to be ambitious in the good sense (1Th 4:11; 2Co 5:9; Ro 15:20). The Latin ambitio has a bad sense from ambire, to go both ways to gain one’s point. To be well-pleasing to him [euarestoi autōi einai]. Late adjective that shows Paul’s loyalty to Christ, his Captain. Found in several inscriptions in the Koinē period (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 214; Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary).

5:10 Before the judgment-seat of Christ [emprosthen tou bēmatos tou Christou]. Old word [bēma], a step (from [bainō], a platform, the seat of the judge (Mt 27:19). Christ is Saviour, Lord, and Judge of us all [tous pantas], the all). That each may receive [hina komisētai hekastos]. Receive as his due, [komizō] means, old verb. See on Mt 25:27. Bad [phaulon]. Old word, akin to German faul, worthless, of no account, base, wicked.

5:11 The fear of the Lord [ton phobon tou Kuriou]. Many today regard this a played-out motive, but not so Paul. He has in mind verse 10 with the picture of the judgment seat of Christ. We persuade [peithomen]. Conative present active, we try to persuade. It is always hard work. Unto God [theōi]. Dative case. God understands whether men do or not. That we are made manifest [pephanerōsthai]. Perfect passive infinitive of [phaneroō] in indirect discourse after [elpizō]. Stand manifested, state of completion.

5:12 As giving you occasion of glorying [aphormēn didontes humin kauchēmatos]. An old Greek word [apo, hormē], onset, rush), a base of operations, material with which to glory, as we say “a tip” only much more. That ye may have wherewith to answer [hina echēte pros]. Literally, “That ye may have something against (for facing those, etc.).” Paul wishes his champions in Corinth to know the facts. In appearance, and not in heart [en prosōpōi kai mē en kardiāi]. He means the Judaizers who were braggarts about their orthodox Judaism.

5:13 Whether we are beside ourselves [eite exestēmen]. Second aorist active indicative of [existēmi], old verb, here to stand out of oneself (intransitive) from [ekstasis], ecstasy, comes as in Mr 5:42. It is literary plural, for Paul is referring only to himself. See on 1:6 for [eite—eite]. It is a condition of the first class and Paul assumes as true the charge that he was crazy (if I was crazy) for the sake of argument. Festus made it later (Ac 26:24). He spoke with tongues (1Co 14:18) and had visions (2Co 12:1-6) which probably the Judaizers used against him. A like charge was made against Jesus (Mr 3:21). People often accuse those whom they dislike with being a bit off.

5:14 The love of Christ [hē agapē tou Christou]. Subjective genitive, Christ’s love for Paul as shown by verse 15. Constraineth us [sunechei hēmas]. Old and common verb, to hold together, to press the ears together (Ac 7:57), to press on every side (Lu 8:45), to hold fast (Lu 22:63), to hold oneself to (Ac 18:5), to be pressed (passive, Lu 12:50; Php 1:23). So here Paul’s conception of Christ’s love for him holds him together to his task whatever men think or say. Judging this [krinantas touto]. Having reached this conclusion, ever since his conversion (Ga 1:17f.). One died for all [heis huper pantōn apethanen]. This is the central tenet in Paul’s theology and Christology. [Huper] (over) here is used in the sense of substitution as in Joh 11:50; Ga 3:13, death in behalf so that the rest will not have to die. This use of [huper] is common in the papyri (Robertson, Grammar, p. 631). In fact, [huper] in this sense is more usual in Greek than [anti, pro] or any other preposition. Therefore all died [ara hoi pantes apethanon]. Logical conclusion [ara], corresponding), the one died for the all and so the all died when he did, all the spiritual death possible for those for whom Christ died. This is Paul’s gospel, clear-cut, our hope today.

5:15 Should no longer live unto themselves [hina mēketi heautois zōsin]. The high doctrine of Christ’s atoning death carries a correspondingly high obligation on the part of those who live because of him. Selfishness is ruled out by our duty to live “unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.”

5:16 Henceforth [apo tou nun]. From the time that we gained this view of Christ’s death for us. After the flesh [kata sarka]. According to the flesh, the fleshy way of looking at men. He, of course, knows men “in the flesh [en tēi sarki], but Paul is not speaking of that. Worldly standards and distinctions of race, class, cut no figure now with Paul (Ga 3:28) as he looks at men from the standpoint of the Cross of Christ. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh [ei kai egnōkamen kata sarka Christon]. Concessive clause [ei kai], if even or also) with perfect active indicative. Paul admits that he had once looked at Christ [kata sarka], but now no longer does it. Obviously he uses [kata sarka] in precisely the same sense that he did in verse 15 about men. He had before his conversion known Christ [kata sarka], according to the standards of the men of his time, the Sanhedrin and other Jewish leaders. He had led the persecution against Jesus till Jesus challenged and stopped him (Ac 9:4). That event turned Paul clean round and he no longer knows Christ in the old way [kata sarka]. Paul may or may not have seen Jesus in the flesh before his death, but he says absolutely nothing on that point here.

5:17 A new creature [kainē ktisis]. A fresh start is made [kainē]. [Ktisis] is the old word for the act of creating (Ro 1:20), but in N.T. by metonymy it usually bears the notion of [ktisma], the thing created or creature as here. The old things are passed away [ta archaia parēlthen]. Did pass by, he means. Second aorist active of [parerchomai], to go by. The ancient [archaia] way of looking at Christ among other things. And yet today there are scholars who are trying to revive the old prejudiced view of Jesus Christ as a mere man, a prophet, to give us “a reduced Christ.” That was once Paul’s view, but it passed by forever for him. It is a false view and leaves us no gospel and no Saviour. Behold, they are become new [idou, gegone kaina]. Perfect active indicative of [ginomai], have become new (fresh, [kaina] to stay so.

5:18 Who reconciled us to himself through Christ [tou katallaxantos hēmas heautōi dia Christou]. Here Paul uses one of his great doctrinal words, [katallassō], old word for exchanging coins. [Diallassō], to change one’s mind, to reconcile, occurs in N.T. only in Mt 5:24 though in papyri (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 187), and common in Attic. [Katallassō] is old verb, but more frequent in later writers. We find [sunallassō] in Ac 7:26 and [apokatallassō] in Col 1:20f.; Eph 2:16 and the substantive [katallagē] in Ro 5:11; 11:15 as well as here. It is hard to discuss this great theme without apparent contradiction. God’s love (Joh 3:16) provided the means and basis for man’s reconciliation to God against whom he had sinned. It is all God’s plan because of his love, but God’s own sense of justice had to be satisfied (Ro 3:26) and so God gave his Son as a propitiation for our sins (Ro 3:25; Col 1:20; 1Jo 2:2; 4:10). The point made by Paul here is that God needs no reconciliation, but is engaged in the great business of reconciling us to himself. This has to be done on God’s terms and is made possible through [dia] Christ. And gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation [kai dontos hēmin tēn diakonian tēs katallagēs]. It is a ministry marked by reconciliation, that consists in reconciliation. God has made possible through Christ our reconciliation to him, but in each case it has to be made effective by the attitude of each individual. The task of winning the unreconciled to God is committed to us. It is a high and holy one, but supremely difficult, because the offending party (the guilty) is the hardest to win over. We must be loyal to God and yet win sinful men to him.

5:19 To wit, that [hōs hoti]. Latin puts it quoniam quidem. It is an unclassical idiom, but occurs in the papyri and inscriptions (Moulton, Prol., p. 212; Robertson, Grammar, p. 1033). It is in Es 4:14. See also 2Co 11:21; 2Th 2:2. It probably means “how that.” Not reckoning [mē logizomenos]. What Jesus did (his death for us) stands to our credit (Ro 8:32) if we make our peace with God. This is our task, “the word of reconciliation,” that we may receive “the righteousness of God” and be adopted into the family of God.

5:20 We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ [huper Christou oun presbeuomen]. Old word from [presbus], an old man, first to be an old man, then to be an ambassador (here and Eph 6:20 with [en halusēi] in a chain added), common in both senses in the Greek. “The proper term in the Greek East for the Emperor’s Legate” (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 374), in inscriptions and papyri. So Paul has a natural pride in using this dignified term for himself and all ministers. The ambassador has to be persona grata with both countries (the one that he represents and the one to which he goes). Paul was Christ’s Legate to act in his behalf and in his stead. As though God were intreating by us [hōs tou theou parakalountos di’ hēmōn]. Genitive absolute with [hōs] used with the participle as often to give the reason (apparent or real). Here God speaks through Christ’s Legate. Be ye reconciled to God [katallagēte tōi theōi]. Second aorist passive imperative of [katallassō] and used with the dative case. “Get reconciled to God,” and do it now. This is the ambassador’s message as he bears it to men from God.

5:21 Him who knew no sin [ton mē gnonta hamartian]. Definite claim by Paul that Jesus did not commit sin, had no personal acquaintance [mē gnonta], second aorist active participle of [ginōskō] with it. Jesus made this claim for himself (Joh 8:46). This statement occurs also in 1Pe 2:22; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Jo 3:5. Christ was and is “a moral miracle” (Bernard) and so more than mere man. He made to be sin [hamartian epoiēsen]. The words “to be” are not in the Greek. “Sin” here is the substantive, not the verb. God “treated as sin” the one “who knew no sin.” But he knew the contradiction of sinners (Heb 12:3). We may not dare to probe too far into the mystery of Christ’s suffering on the Cross, but this fact throws some light on the tragic cry of Jesus just before he died: “My God, My God, why didst thou forsake me?” (Mt 27:46). That we might become [hina hēmeis genōmetha]. Note “become.” This is God’s purpose [hina] in what he did and in what Christ did. Thus alone can we obtain God’s righteousness (Ro 1:17).

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