The Book of 2 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 5 Part 2

Our last reading this week is 2 Cor 5:11-21
 
G-d has given us work to do. A great aspect of this calling is called the ‘ministry of reconciliation’. This involves bringing individuals into eternal intimacy with G-d through the gospel.
 
v11: Therefore: This is a word of transition. It tells us that Paul is reaching a conclusion based on what he has revealed prior to this word. 
·      Terror: Fear. Phobia. A phobia can be an imagined threat or a legitimate threat (something that rightly should cause us to fear). Paul is referring here to the wrath of G-d, the threat of His eternal judgment. G-d is wrathful, and He is going to judge sin. The best example of the wrath of G-d is the cross. The fact that Yeshua would be commanded to die on a cross tells us that G-d’s judgement and His wrath is real. We need to understand that G-d is not weak. He will not ignore or think lightly of sin. The cross reminds us that those thoughts are misplaced. 
·      We persuade men: Those who have received Messiah, who have believed the truth, who have brought themselves under the authority of G-d’s word, who know the reality of G-d’s wrath, are going to persuade men to enter into a covenant with G-d (to be reconciled to G-d, to be redeemed).
·      Well known: In this context it can best be understood as being transparent.
·      Trust: Paul’s hope was that he (and his companions) would not only be physically seen by the Corinthians but that the Corinthian’s consciences would also discern them – ie know the reasons, motivations and purposes of why Paul did the things that he did. 
 
v12: We do not commend ourselves: Paul was not there to seek their approval. It had nothing to do with Paul or his companions but everything to do with the purpose of G-d. 
·      An opportunity: When Paul went to this congregation it gave them a spiritual opportunity. G-d had sent Paul to them to give them revelation. Spiritual opportunities are connected to eternity. We should not neglect or ignore them.
·      Glory: Boast. This word states or reveals something publicly. It can also be understood as rejoicing.  People boast about that which is good, that which is pleasing, that which brings joy into their lives. Paul is not saying that we want the attention, but rather this is an opportunity to bear witness or to testify, to reveal something.
·      Appearance: Literally ‘of the face’. Note: For some people ‘seeing is believing’. 
·      Not in heart: The heart is a word of thought – as a man thinks in his heart. Many times in the Bible when the word ‘heart’ is stated it tells us that it is an idiom for discernment (what we think about etc). Paul is saying here that some people only go by what they see, and they will not ponder on or reflect upon things inwardly to arrive at truth. These Corinthians can boast/rejoice concerning Paul (etc)as he had lived out his commitment to G-d in a discernible/visible way. He lived in this way because he sincerely believed that G-d is wrathful and will judge sinners 
 
v13: Note: Paul gives two very different situations in this verse: Either ‘this’ or ‘that’. 
·      Beside (beyond) ourselves: To stand outside of. Acting uniquely…people may say acting in a way that is perhaps not dignified from a worldly standpoint. The world does not understand this behaviour. 
·      It is for G-d: Anytime that we behave in an unusual, odd or not according to society’s norms, from a worldly perspective, Paul says we do so unto G-d. It is our service, our commitment, to Him that the world can’t understand.
·      Sound mind: Sober-mindedNormal behaviour. Paul wanted to have a testimony that they could discern and appreciate, that they could easily comprehend. 
 
v14: Judge thus: This is the conclusion that Paul has reached.
·      One: Messiah Yeshua. The love of Messiah caused Him, compelled Him, to go to that cross.
·      One died for all: Yeshua died for all of humanity (John 3:16).
·      All died: Yeshua, who had never sinned, became sin for us. The sins of the whole world were laid on Him. The outcome of sin is death, judgment…so that is why Yeshua had to die. When He died upon the cross all who receive Him die too (Dead to sin and alive to Messiah). In a sense, through Messiah, we all die, we all receive the punishment (G-d’s judgment) of being Torah violators. He took it for us, but it is credited to our account. We no longer walk under the law but, being led by the Spirit, in faith. It is through faith that we fulfil the righteousness of the law. 
 
v15: Paul is now going to tell us the reason why Yeshua died.
·      Those who live: Talking about believers. 
·      Live no longer for themselves: Messiah died so that we could live for Him – not for ourselves (not for our wants or desires).  
·      For Him: We need to live for Messiah Yeshua.
·      Rose again: Yeshua was raised from the dead by G-d the Father. G-d the Father, by raising Him from the dead, confirmed the sufficiency, the perfection, of Messiah’s offering. It was acceptable to G-d. Yeshua’s resurrection here is clear, but our resurrection (our Kingdom future) is also hinted at here. If we died with Him, we will also be raised like Him. 
 
v16: From now on: This is kind of a chain reaction. Something happened (in this case, this death) which leads to us thinking in a different way ‘from now on’, from the moment we believe.  
·      Regard: Discern things. Reckon things. We no longer see things from an earthly perspective, but we see things differently.
·      We have known Messiah according to the flesh: There are two primary interpretations/perspectives of this. The first one is that Messiah came in the flesh and was known as a human being. People could touch Him, speak to Him, hear Him. The second possibility is that we came to know Messiah out of a fleshly perspective. We did not want to experience the wrath of G-d, or be sentenced eternally to hell, so our motivation in coming to faith initially was a fleshly one.  
·      We know Him thus no longer: This fleshly way of coming to Messiah (Fear of wrath etc) is no longer our motivation for knowing Messiah. We no longer need to live with a fear of the wrath of G-d. Not having an assurance of our salvation, being constantly afraid of the wrath or judgment of G-d, causes us to have a wrong understanding or perception of the work of Messiah. Messiah’s work was all sufficient. He accomplished the work, purpose and will of G-d perfectly so that we can have assurance. As believers, we never have to be concerned about the wrath of G-d. Messiah took that wrath upon Himself when He died for us. Now we live for Him – not out of a fear of G-d’s wrath, but out of a desire to please Him because we love Him. 
 
v17: Anyone: Applicable to all believers
·      In Messiah: Being in a new covenantal relationship with Him. 
·      Old things: Written in the plural. Our old habits, our old ways of thinking, our old ways of doing things, etc
·      Passed away: Written in the singular. Like us (who are now considered dead in Messiah), these old things are also to be considered dead in Him. 
·      New: What G-d began in the past is true now and will continue to be true into the future. These new things accompany us. They cause us to be different. These new things become a new reality for us. 
 
v18: All things are of (from) G-d: He’s the One who has brought about all these things for the purpose of reconciliation, He’s the cause of them and He should be the recipient of all praise, all glory, all thanksgiving.
·      Reconciled: Reconciliation brings about a specific change. 
·      Reconciled us to Himself through Messiah Yeshua: It is only through Messiah Yeshua that we can be reconciled to G-d.
·      Given us the ministry of reconciliation: This goes back to what Paul said earlier. We have been manifested and are transparent, so that we can reconcile people to G-d through Messiah. We want to see all things brought under the L-rdship of our L-rd and Saviour, Messiah. When people are reconciled to G-d they will no longer fear the judgment of G-d. Every believer has been given the ministry of reconciliation. We have an absolute obligation to be thinking purposefully, with intent, of how we can be in the presence of others for the purpose of reconciling them to G-d through Messiah Yeshua. All of us have been given this ministry, and all of us need to act on it so that G-d can begin to fulfil His purposes in our lives. 
 
v19: G-d was in Messiah: This is a great text to speak about the divinity of Messiah. G-d did it through Messiah, through the uniqueness of their Oneness.
·      Reconciling the world to Himself: G-d is going to bring a change to all of creation, to all of the world. Every aspect of this world is going to be dealt with based upon reconciliation. That which is not reconciled to G-d, that which is unreconciled, is going to experience the wrath of G-d. 
·      Not imputing their trespasses to them: This is how G-d reconciled those who received the gospel to Himself. This is a promise. G-d worked through Messiah in order that He would not reckon, not account, not recognize our transgressions. Our sins have been dealt with at the cross. We have been forgiven.
·      Word: The plan, the purpose.
 
v20: (Mature): Many Bibles translate this word as ‘ambassador’, but this is not correctly translated. It is a word that refers to an elder in a Presbyterian congregation. It refers to those who are mature enough to lead that assembly. Paul is saying that on behalf of Messiah we are mature, we are the elders (older ones – even a babe in Christ is older spiritually then someone in the world) and with that comes a G-d-given authority subjected to the will, purpose and revelation of G-d.
·      Be reconciled to G-d: This is written in the imperative, which means that being reconciled to G-d is a commandment. It is also written in the passive. When something is written in the passive, we know that it is something we cannot do by ourselves but it needs to be done for us. So, being reconciled is a commandment, but we cannot do it for ourselves. Being a recipient of reconciliation comes as an outcome of the ministry of Messiah, and His ministry continues through individuals. Believers have that word of reconciliation, and they share it with others and encourage others to receive reconciliation. We cannot reconcile ourselves, but we can receive and become a recipient of G-d’s reconciliation to Himself by Messiah.
 
v21: Note: This verse gives us a proper understanding of this work of reconciliation. 
·      He (God the Father) made Him (Yeshua) who knew no sin: Yeshua had no connection whatsoever with sin in His own life. He had no experience with it. Sin was foreign to Him. 
·      Be sin for us: Neither G-d the Father nor G-d the Son benefitted from this. It was all for us. We needed to be saved, we needed this reconciliation, we needed this forgiveness. G-d laid our sins upon Yeshua so that He would take the punishment and we would not. And, not being punished, therefore, we could enjoy eternal life, Kingdom life. The righteousness of G-d was upheld through His judgment of sin upon Messiah.
·      We should (know) the righteousness of G-d: As believers we are going to experience, we are going to document, the righteousness of G-d. 
·      In Him: In this covenantal relationship with Messiah. 
Note: When we live our lives being a herald of the message of salvation (the gospel), speaking about the means of how to be reconciled to G-d, and when we live with discernment, making righteous decisions, etc our lives are going to be greatly changed. One of the changes we will experience is having inner peace, contentment, that joy that overcomes all the attacks that the enemy can throw at us.

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