II Corinthians 5:11-16

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Text: II Corinthians 5:9-16

OUR MOTIVES AS SERVANTS

INTRODUCTION:

What is it that moves you? What is it that really gets you going, that motivates you to get something done?

In II Corinthians 5:11-17 we see several more things which motivated the Apostle Paul to be faithful in his service for the Lord.

We remind ourselves that every believer is to be serving the Lord with his life. However, when we get tired, when we get bogged down, or when we get discouraged, what is it that keeps us going?

We have already seen Paul's first motive. It is -

I. OUR DESIRE IS TO BE PLEASING TO CHRIST - 5:9-10

II Corinthians 5:9-10 - (9) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (10) For we must all 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.

Verse 9 draws an inference from what Paul has written in verses 1-8.

Wherefore is therefore or for this reason.

We labour speaks of Paul, but it is also true of all other believers as well. It means we are laboring, we are having as our ambition, we are considering it an honor, we are aspiring, we are striving earnestly, or we are making it our aim in life.

Paul's goal is that . . . we may be accepted of him, i.e. may be well pleasing to Him, i.e. to Christ.

Whether present or absent suggests whether present in the body or absent from the body as mentioned in verse 6.

II Corinthians 5:10 (10) For we must all 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.

Verse 10 provides the reason Paul makes it his aim in life to be pleasing to the Lord.

For introduces the reason and is understood in the sense of because.

We must all appear, where we includes Paul and the Corinthian believers as well as all believers everywhere, indicates that there will be no choice in the matter.

All means that there are no exceptions. No believers will escape this judgment.

Where all believers must appear is before the judgment seat of Christ.

Before suggests in front of.

The judgment seat refers to the Bema seat judgment of believers, which will occur after the rapture. It refers to a judicial bench.

Of Christ suggests Christ's. He will be the One sitting on the judgment seat, judging believers. This judgment is referred to in I Corinthians 3:11-15 as well as Romans 14:12 .

I Corinthians 3:11-15 - (11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Romans 14:12 - So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

That (i.e. in order that) every one may receive the things done in his body indicates the purpose for which all believers must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

Every one is each one and refers to each believer.

May receive is may receive as a recompense.

The things done in his body is literally the things through the body. The things refers to his deeds or actions.

Done has been supplied by the translators from the next phrase where it is actually stated.

In his body suggests in or through his physical body during his lifetime.

The body is thus viewed as the intermediate agent of the actions he, the direct agent, has done. It is through the body he has carried out what he has done, whether good or bad. It furthermore suggests that he, the real person, is responsible for the actions done through his body and that the body is not actually responsible.

According to that he hath done indicates the basis of the judgment.

According to that is according to what things in the sense of in accordance with (i.e. with reference to, with regard to, or pertaining to) what things.

He hath done is he did or he accomplished, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Whether it be good or bad refers to the things done in his body.

Whether . . . or suggests two possibilities.

If it be good suggests things of worth or merit.

Bad is understood in the sense of worthless. It is a reminder of I Corinthians 3:11-15 in which one's deeds are described by various building materials ranging from valuable to worthless and from less combustible to most combustible: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble. Those works that are good or of worth will receive a reward. Those works that are bad or worthless will not receive a reward.

This does not mean that believers will receive punishment or be punished at the judgment seat of Christ for things they have done in this life. Their punishment was completely paid for at the cross by Christ. By the time believers appear at the judgment seat of Christ, their old sin natures will have been forever removed.

Also, when God says in Hebrews 8:12 , For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more, it leads to the conclusion that this passage is speaking only of rewards or loss of rewards, i.e. receiving rewards or not receiving them.

Paul's second motive is -

II. OUR FEAR OF THE LORD - 5:11-13

II Corinthians 5:11-13 - (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (12) 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 appearance, and not in heart. (13) For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

At first reading some may conclude that verse 11 suggests a reason Paul carries on his apostolic witness. He knows the terror unbelievers will face at the great white throne judgment from the Lord. However, it is better to understand that the persuasion is not for evangelism but for convincing the Corinthian believers of the integrity of his character and of the genuineness of his apostleship.

Knowing is understood in the sense of because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) we know (i.e. see, perceive, or recognize).

Therefore introduces an inference and is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, then, or so.

What Paul knows is the terror of the Lord, where the Lord is Christ, the One before Whose judgment seat all believers must appear as well as the One before Whom all unbelievers will appear at the great white throne judgment.

Terror is the word ordinarily translated fear. If the passage is understood as seeking to persuade people to be saved, of the Lord suggests that it is the Lord's terror or the terror which the Lord strikes in the hearts of those who are facing His judgment. If, however, terror suggests standing in awe of the Lord, it suggests that Paul is seeking to persuade the Corinthian believers of his integrity and of the genuineness of his apostleship. This is the better choice and is consistent with verse 12 and with II Corinthians 4:2 , which says,

II Corinthians 4:2 (2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

We persuade, where we is Paul, is we are persuading, we are seeking to persuade, or we are seeking to convince.

The ones Paul seeks to persuade are men, which is the generic term for humanity and includes females as well as males.

As translated, but indicates a mild contrast with we persuade men. It might instead be understood as introducing a slight change of direction in the sense of now. The same word is translated and at the beginning of the next clause.

We are made manifest, where we is Paul, is we have been revealed, we have been made known, or we appear; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes its existing result.

Unto God, i.e. to God, a reference to God the Father, indicates the One to Whom Paul has been made known. We are made manifest unto God indicates that God knows Paul and his motives.

And continues the thought of we are made manifest unto God with I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

I trust is the word ordinarily translated I hope. It is understood in the sense of I am hoping or I am hoping for.

Also suggests in addition to being made manifest unto God.

Are made manifest is the same word used in the previous clause and is again understood in the sense of are revealed, are made known, or appear. Its tense indicates that this has not yet taken place. It is literally to be in a state of having been revealed (i.e. of having been made known or of having appeared).

In your consciences, where your is plural and refers to the Corinthian believers, indicates where Paul wants to be made known to them. Consciences refers to the inward faculty of distinguishing right and wrong.

I trust also are made manifest in your consciences means that Paul desires that the Corinthian believers recognize him for what he really is and realize that his motives are pure.

II Corinthians 5:12 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 appearance, and not in heart.

Paul has been falsely accused of commending himself, but he has not been (and is not) doing this. In verse 12 Paul indicates instead that He has provided genuine believers in Corinth with the facts or truths by which they might stand behind him when these false teachers speak against him.

For is understood in the sense of because.

We commend not is we are not commending (i.e. we are not presenting or we are not recommending). The same terminology is used quite a number of times in II Corinthians.

Ourselves refers to Paul.

Again unto you suggests one more time to you. Paul has been falsely accused of commending himself to the Corinthian believers.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to we commend not ourselves again unto you. It is (we) give you occasion to glory on our behalf.

We give you occasion to glory on our behalf is we are giving you opportunity to boast concerning us, i.e. concerning Paul.

That ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart provides the reason Paul gives for boasting concerning himself to the Corinthian believers.

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

Ye may have somewhat (i.e. something) to answer them which glory (i.e. boast).

In appearance indicates where these false teachers or false apostles are glorying, boasting, or priding themselves and suggests in external things.

And not in heart introduces where they are not glorying, boasting, or priding themselves and suggests deep within themselves in the innermost recesses of their beings. In heart is used in a sense opposite to in appearance. They were pretenders or phonies and not genuine. By contrast, Paul was genuine.

II Corinthians 5:13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

In verse 13 Paul answers those who accused him of being beside himself as well as of being too serious minded.

For is understood in the sense of now as explaining the thought of what he has been saying in verse 12 or of giving an instance in the sense of for example.

Whether . . . or whether introduces two opposite criticisms of Paul and is understood in the sense of if . . . or if or assuming that . . . or assuming that. Both introduce conditions which, for sake of discussion, are regarded as being true even though they may not actually be true. Therefore, both are understood in the sense of assuming that.

Whether we be beside ourselves, referring to Paul, is assuming that we were beside ourselves, assuming that we lost our minds, or assuming that we were out of our senses. Paul had apparently been accused of having been beside himself, i.e. crazy, out of his mind, or mentally disturbed.

The tense of we be beside ourselves indicates action which occurred in the past and has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

It is to God suggests (it is) for God. Paul's being out of his mind is for God in the sense that his zeal in presenting the gospel to people is due to his fervent love for God the Father. His zeal in the gospel ministry was for God.

Or whether we be sober, again referring to Paul, is or assuming that we are sober and is descriptive of what Paul is like. It suggests the opposite of being out of his mind and means assuming that we are sober minded, assuming that we are serious minded, or assuming that we are of sound mind. It has nothing to do with not being drunk as a result of drinking too many intoxicating beverages.

It is for your cause indicates the reason Paul is serious minded.

For your cause is for you and is parallel in the Greek text to for God. However people viewed Paul, his zeal was for God; and his serious mindedness was for the eternal benefit of the believers in Corinth.

Paul's third motive is -

III. CHRIST'S LOVE FOR US - 5:14-16

II Corinthians 5:14-16 - (14) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

According to verse 14, Christ's love for Paul leaves him with no choice because Christ died for all people, all of whom were spiritually dead.

For introduces the reason or cause of whether Paul is out of his mind or serious minded and is understood in the sense of because.

The love of Christ is Christ's love for us rather than our love for Christ. Love is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of someone else without expecting anything in return.

Constraineth us, where us refers to Paul, means provides an impulse for us, urges us on, or impels us. It suggests moves us or leaves us no choice; and its tense indicates that this is a timeless truth, something which is true at all times under all circumstances. The love of Christ is expressed in Christ's dying for all.

I John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. There is no difference between the Father's and Christ's love for sinners.

Because we thus judge, where we is Paul, suggests making a judgment based on taking various factors into account in the sense of because we judged, because we thought, or because we considered.

Thus is this, and its content is that if one died for all, then were all dead.

That if one died for all is the conditional clause in a conditional statement. The structure of this condition indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true; and inasmuch as it is actually true, if is understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

One is the number one rather than someone or somebody and implies one person.

The tense of died indicates that its action occurred in the past; and, of course, it did occur when Christ was crucified.

For all is on behalf of all and suggests on behalf of all persons. This contradicts the unscriptural idea of a limited atonement.

Inasmuch as the condition is true, the conclusion, then were all dead, is also true.

Then expresses result in the sense of as a result.

Were all dead is the all died. Although all persons are dead spiritually, i.e. separated from God; and although they remain spiritually dead until such time as they receive Christ as their personal Savior, this is not the reference of were all dead. It is better understood as referring to the fact that Christ's death was the death of all persons (not just the elect) in that He died the death that all persons deserve to die in payment for their sins. At the same time, Christ's death does not become effective for an individual until such time as he receives Christ as his personal Savior.

The appears before all in the Greek text and indicates that it is the sum total of all persons who died. There are no exceptions. All saved persons were united with Christ in His death at the instant of their salvation.

Galatians 2:20 - (20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:8 - Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.

II Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Verse 15 indicates that Christ died for all persons in order that these all persons should live for Him.

And that he died for all is and that He died on behalf of all.

II Peter 2:1 - (1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (emphasis added).

That they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again provides the reason or intended result of Christ's having died for all persons.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

They which live is the ones who are living or the ones who are alive. The reference is to those who believe the gospel and, as a result, have received not only forgiveness of sins, but also eternal life.

The tense of should not henceforth live is should no longer be living.

Unto themselves is for themselves.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the thought of no longer living unto themselves. It is the thought of living for Him Who died for them and rose again from the dead.

Unto him which died . . . and rose again is for the One Who died and rose (from the dead) and is referring to Christ.

Again, for them is on behalf of them and refers to the ones who are living. When believers consider all that Christ has done for them in providing for their salvation, they need to come to the conclusion that they should be living for Him rather than for themselves. It is their way of saying thank you for all He has done for them.

II Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Verse 16 indicates that Paul's perspective of people, including Christ, has changed as a result of his salvation. He no longer views people in accordance with their physical attributes and abilities.

Wherefore is therefore, for this reason, or so.

Henceforth suggests from now on; and it means from the time of Paul's conversion or salvation.

Know we, which refers to Paul, suggests we see, we perceive, or we recognize.

No man is no one or nobody.

After the flesh is according to flesh, in accordance with flesh, in relation to flesh, or with reference to flesh and suggests in the way human beings ordinarily perceive each other, i.e. in accordance with their appearance and physical attributes.

Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true; and it actually is true.

Yea, though means but if, and if, or and even if.

We have known is we have known about or we have made acquaintance with.

The One Whom Paul has known after the flesh is Christ. It does not mean that, prior to his salvation, Paul was personally acquainted with Christ or that they had ever met. Instead, it speaks of Paul's perception of the Lord Jesus Christ before he was saved.

Again after the flesh is according to flesh, in accordance with flesh, in relation to flesh, or with reference to flesh and suggests in the way human beings ordinarily perceive each other, i.e. in accordance with their appearance and physical attributes.

Yet now henceforth know we him no more is the conclusion of this conditional statement. Inasmuch as the condition is true, the conclusion is also true.

Yet introduces a statement in strong contrast to Paul's having previously known Christ in accordance with flesh. It is ordinarily translated but. Paul now looks at Christ through different eyes, i.e. through saved lives. Previously, he had viewed Christ through the eyes of an unbeliever.

Now is at the present time and refers to the time following Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus.

Henceforth know we him no more means that Paul now viewed Christ as his Lord and Savior and no longer as a misguided man who was justly condemned to die.