5:1 For 1 we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
(1) Taking occasion by the former comparison, he compares this miserable body as it is in this life, to a frail and brittle tabernacle. And contrasts this with the heavenly tabernacle, which he calls that sure and everlasting condition of this same body glorified in heaven. And this is so, he says, in that we are addicted to this tabernacle, but also with sobs and sighs desire rather that tabernacle. And so this place concerning the glory to come is put within the treatise of the dignity of the ministry, just as it also was in the beginning of the second chapter. 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be a clothed upon with our house which is from b heaven:
(a) He calls the glory of immortality, which we will be as it were clothed with, a garment. 5:3 2 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
(b) Heavenly, not that the substance of it is heavenly, but rather the glory of it.
(2) An exposition of the former saying: we do not without reason desire to be clad with the heavenly house, that is, with that everlasting and immortal glory, as with a garment. For when we depart from here we will not remain naked, having cast off the covering of this body, but we will take our bodies again, which will put on as it were another garment besides. And therefore we do not sigh because of the weariness of this life, but because of the desire of a better life. Neither is this desire in vain, for we are made to that life, the pledge of which we have, even the Spirit of adoption. 5:5 Now he that hath c wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
(c) He means that first creation, to show us that our bodies were made to this end, that they should be clothed with heavenly immortality. 5:6 3 Therefore [we are] always d confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(3) He concludes something here from verse four, and states it in the following way: "Therefore, seeing that we know by the Spirit that we are strangers so long as we are here, we patiently suffer this delay (for we are now so with God, that we behold him only by faith, and are therefore now absent from him) but so that we aspire and have a longing always to him. Therefore also we behave ourselves in such a way that we may be acceptable to him, both while we live here, and when we go from here to him." ( 2 Corinthians 5:4 ) 5:7 (For we walk by e faith, not by sight:)
(d) He calls them "confident" who are always resolved with a quiet and settled mind to suffer any danger at all, not doubting at all that their end will be happy.
(e) Faith, of those things which we hope for, not having God presently in our physical view. 5:8 We are f confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
(f) And yet we are in such a manner confident and do so pass on our pilgrimage with a valiant and peaceful mind, that yet nonetheless we had rather depart from here to the Lord. 5:9 Wherefore we g labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
(g) And seeing that it is so, we strive to live so, that both in this our pilgrimage here we may please him, and that at length we may be received home to him. 5:10 4 For we must all h appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
(4) That no man might think that what he spoke of that heavenly glory pertains to all, he adds that every one will first render an account of his pilgrimage, after he has departed from here. 5:11 5 Knowing therefore the i terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
(h) We must all appear personally, and enquiry will be made of us, that all may see how we have lived.
(5) Now he moves on, and taking occasion of the former sentence returns to ( 2 Corinthians 4:16 ), confirming his own and his associates sincerity. 5:12 6 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in k appearance, and not in heart.
(i) That terrible judgment.
(6) He removes all suspicion of pride by a new reason, because it is a responsibility, not for his part but for theirs, that his apostleship be considered sincere compared to the vain display of a few others. 5:13 7 For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause.
(k) In outward disguising, and that pretentious show of mans wisdom and eloquence, and not in true godliness, which is sealed in the heart.
(7) The meaning is: even when I am mad (as some men think of me), while I seem as a fool to boast about myself, I do it for your profit, to the same extent that I do when I preach only the Gospel to you. 5:14 8 For the love of Christ l constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if m one died for all, then were all dead:
(8) He continues dismissing all suspicion of desire of estimation and boasting. For the love of Christ, he says, compels us to this, that seeing he died for us all, who were dead when as we lived to ourselves (that is, while we were yet given to these earthly affections) we in like sort should consecrate our whole life which we have received from him, to him. That is, being endued with the Holy Spirit to this end and purpose, that we should meditate upon nothing but that which is heavenly. 5:15 And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth n live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
(l) Wholly possesses us.
(m) He speaks here of sanctification, by which it comes to pass that Christ lives in us.
(n) See See Romans 6:1-7:25 5:16 9 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: 10 yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.
(9) He shows what it is not to live to ourselves but to Christ, that is, to know no man according to the flesh. That is to say, to be conversant among men and yet not to care for those worldly and carnal things, as those do who have regard for a mans family, his country, form, glory, riches, and such like, in which men commonly dote and weary themselves. 5:17 11 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a o new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(10) An amplification: "This is", he says, "so true, that we do not now think carnally of Christ himself, who has now left the world, and therefore he must be thought of spiritually by us."
5:18 12 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
(11) An exhortation for every man who is renewed with the Spirit of Christ to meditate on heavenly things, and not earthly.
(o) As a thing made new by God, for though a man is not newly created when God gives him the spirit of regeneration, but only his qualities are changed, yet nonetheless it pleased the Holy Spirit to speak so, to teach us that we must attribute all things to the glory of God. Not that we are as rocks or stones, but because God creates in us both the will to will well, and the power to do well.
5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath p committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
(12) He commends the excellency of the ministry of the Gospel, both by the authority of God himself, who is the author of that ministry, and also by the excellency of the doctrine of it. For it announces atonement with God by free forgiveness of our sins, and justification offered to us in Christ, and that so lovingly and freely, that God himself does in a way beseech men by the mouth of his ministers to have consideration of themselves, and not to despise so great a benefit. And when he says so, he plainly reprehends those who falsely attribute to themselves the name of "pastor", as this calling can only come from God.
(p) Used our labour and travail. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] q sin for us, who r knew no sin; that we might be made the s righteousness of God in him.
(q) A sinner, not in himself, but by imputation of the guilt of all our sins to him.
(r) Who was completely void of sin.
(s) Righteous before God, and that with righteousness which is not fundamental in us, but being fundamental in Christ, God imputes it to us through faith.