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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 2 CORINTHIANS 5\\

The apostle, in this chapter, enlarges upon the saints' comfortable
assurance, expectation, and desire of the heavenly glory; discourses
of the diligence and industry of himself and other Gospel ministers
in preaching the word, with the reasons that induced them to it; and
closes it with a commendation of the Gospel ministry from the
important subject, sum, and substance of it. Having mentioned in the
latter part of the, preceding chapter, the eternal weight of glory,
the afflictions of the saints are working for, and the invisible
realities of that state they are looking to, here expresses the
assurance that he and others had of their interest therein; and which
he signifies by an edifice, and illustrates it by its opposition to
the body, which he compares to an house and tabernacle; the one is
man's, the other of God, and not made with hands; the one is earthly,
the other in heaven; the one is to be, and will be dissolved, the other
is eternal, \\#2Co 5:1\\ and therefore it is no wonder that it should
be so earnestly desired, as it is said to be in \\#2Co 5:2\\ where the
desire of it is signified by groaning, which supposes something
distressing, and which makes uneasy; and by an earnest longing after
deliverance and happiness, and which is explained by a desire to be
clothed upon with the house from heaven; where the heavenly glory is
not only, as before, compared to an house, but also to a garment, which
all those that are clothed with the righteousness of Christ may justly
expect to be arrayed with; for these will not be found naked nor remain
so, \\#2Co 5:3\\ which earnest desire after immortality and glory is
more fully explained, \\#2Co 5:4\\ in which not only the body, in its
present state, is again compared to a tabernacle, and the saints
represented as being distressed, and so groaning whilst in it; but the
cause of this groaning is suggested, which is a burden they labour
under, both of sin and affliction; and yet such is the natural
inclination of man to remain in the body, and his unwillingness to part
from it, that he does not desire to be stripped of that, but to have
the robe of immortality put upon it, that so the present mortality that
attends it might be wholly swallowed up in it: and that the saints had
reason to believe there was such an happiness to be enjoyed, and that
they had such an interest in it is clear; because as God had prepared
that for them, he had also wrought and prepared them for that; and
besides, had given them his Spirit as the earnest and pledge of it,
\\#2Co 5:5\\ wherefore, as they were confidently assured of it, and
considering that they were but sojourners and strangers whilst in the
body, and in the present state of things, and not at home in their
Father's house, and absent from Christ, \\#2Co 5:6\\ as is evident from
their walking by faith in the comfortable assurance, lively hope, and
earnest expectation of things future and unseen, and not in the
beatific vision of them, \\#2Co 5:7\\. Hence they were very desirous,
and chose rather to quit their present dwelling, the tabernacle of the
body, that they might be at home, and enjoy the presence of the Lord,
\\#2Co 5:8\\. And this confidence and hope of eternal things wrought in
the apostle, and other faithful ministers of the word, great
carefulness and diligence to serve the Lord acceptably, and discharge
with faithfulness the trust reposed in them, \\#2Co 5:9\\ the reason of
which concern also, or what likewise animated them to a diligent
performance of their duty, was their certain appearance before the
judgment seat of Christ; which appearance will be universal, and when
there will be a distribution of rewards and punishments to everyone
according to his works, \\#2Co 5:10\\. And besides, it was not only
their own personal concern in this awful affair that engaged them to
such a conduct, but the regard they had to the good of immortal souls,
to whom the day of judgment must be terrible, unless they are brought
to believe in Christ; and for the truth of this they could appeal both
to God, and to the consciences of men, particularly the Corinthians,
\\#2Co 5:11\\. And lest this should be imputed to pride and arrogance,
the apostle suggests the reason why he made mention of all this, that
they might have wherewith to answer the false teachers, and vindicate
the faithful ministers of the Gospel, \\#2Co 5:12\\. However, let it be
construed which way it will, as the effect of madness or sobriety, this
he could with the greatest confidence affirm, that his view was the
glory of God, and the good of souls, \\#2Co 5:13\\ and to this
diligence and faithfulness in preaching the Gospel, he and others were
not only moved by their desire and expectation of happiness, by the
future judgment in which they must appear, and by their concern for
immortal souls, that they might escape the vengeance of that day; but
they were constrained thereunto by the love of Christ in dying for
them, and in whom they died, \\#2Co 5:14\\ the end of which was, that
they might live not to themselves, but to him that died and rose again,
\\#2Co 5:15\\. And as a further instance of their integrity and
faithfulness, the apostle observes, that they had no regard to men on
account of their carnal descent, and outward privileges, as the Jews;
nor even did they consider Christ himself in a carnal view, or esteem
of him as a temporal king, as they once did, \\#2Co 5:16\\ their sole
aims and views being the spiritual good of men, and the advancement of
the spiritual interest and kingdom of Christ; and the conclusion from
hence is, that whoever is truly in Christ, and in his kingdom, is a new
creature, and is in a new world, in a new dispensation, in which both
the old things of the law, and of Heathenism, and of his former
conversation are gone, and all things in doctrine, worship, and
conversation are become new, \\#2Co 5:17\\. And from hence the apostle
proceeds to a commendation of the Gospel dispensation, and the ministry
of it, from its author God, and from the subject matter of it,
reconciliation of men to God by Christ, \\#2Co 5:18\\ which is more
fully explained and enlarged on, both with respect to the efficient
cause of reconciliation, the objects of it, and the means and manner in
which it is brought about, and also the publication of it in the Gospel
by the ministers of it, \\#2Co 5:19\\ and who are described as the
ambassadors of Christ, acting in the name of God, and as in the stead
of Christ, for the good of men, \\#2Co 5:20\\. And closes the chapter
with an account of the great propitiation, Christ, by whom
reconciliation is made; as that he was in himself without sin, and yet
was by imputation made sin for sinners, that they, in the same way,
might be made righteous in the sight of God through him, \\#2Co 5:21\\.