Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

2 Corinthians 5

Please, read this passage with me and think with me about some questions that came to my mind:

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5)

Who are the men of verse 11 and who is the you of verse 20?
I think it is pretty clear that the anyone and the us of verse 17 and 18 are saved people.
What about the world and men of verse 19?
Who is the you of verse 20?

This is a re-post from another time and place, but the topic got de-railed and I never got to the bottom of it. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


  • I think I gave a reply on Unashamed of Grace. It was a good question and I had to think about it.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/06/2006 11:19 AM  

  • My pastor used the bit 'Be reconciled to God' in the preaching class to prove that the Gospel should be preached in Church. However, some of us in the class felt it was more likely a message for believers.

    If a believer is sinning, he is out of fellowship with God and needs to be reconciled.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/06/2006 11:23 AM  

  • Rose, if your going to copy, I am going to copy LOL. Here are my comments on UAG when you first posted this. I am curious what is it that you are looking for that wasn't answered to your satisfaction? I like the way you think about things.

    Here is the copy of my original comment:

    "I will offer my answers to your questions.

    Men in verse 11: I think from reading verse 10 (remember I use the NASB) the men here are believers that will be at the judgement seat of Christ.

    Verse 19: The world and men are everyone who has ever been created.
    I believe the bible teaches that all mens sins against the Law of God have been atoned for on the cross. The only sin that keeps us out of the book of life is the sin of unbelief in Christ for everlasting life. 1 John 5:10-11

    Verse 20: The you is the Corinthian believers or any believer. Verse one of chapter 6 seems to back this up and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Paul to change the objects of this passage in verse 20 and then plainly in verse 1 of the 6th chapter urge those who had believed not to receive Gods grace in vain.
    I think verse 19,20,21,and 6:1 and following thru on in chapter 6 is telling believers to get a hold of your status of being reconciled, don't receive the grace of God in vain and live a life that causes offense and discredits God's ministry of grace to His human creation.
    Does that make sense?"

    By Blogger Kris, at 6/06/2006 9:18 PM  

  • Rose,
    Not sure I am smart enough to answer to your specifics but I believe-

    The letter was after the Corinthians had been admonished about division and offence and the reproach brought them to a Godly sorrow.

    Paul was explaining that He had a ministry of reconciliation for all men would stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He hoped they (Corinthians) also had that same conscience and were not receiving God's grace in vain.

    Not sure if that is a good answer but it is all I see at the moment.


    By Blogger ambiance-five, at 6/06/2006 10:07 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    This passage makes perfect sense. The men in vs 11 are both the saved and the unsaved. Those in verse 20 are the same.

    The difficulty for some folks is in their own doctrinal context. Is salvation a one time 'event'? Then this passage becomes difficult and seems contradictory. Or is it a beginning with a progression, leading to an ultimate consummation? All difficulties resolved. It's just that, for the unsaved, this is an appeal to be saved; for the saved, it is an appeal to persevere.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 6/07/2006 12:46 AM  

  • There is a very good outline that may help you in observing the context of the chapter. Without the overall argument in mind, it is not possible to get at the specifics.
    It is found at the following:


    Sometimes the reading and re-reading of outlines can help to "get" at a passage like nothing else. David Malick is skilled at outlining, as is D. Edmond Hiebert. Dan Wallace is also very gifted in this area. Just scanning his outlines is a benefit, since they are formed in accord with the argument and structure in the greek, and not just according to chapters and verse numbers. That method of reading is really a hindrance rather than a help in interpretation,(though it is helpful for memorization-but what good is memorization of a faulty interpretation)

    By Blogger Blaurock, at 6/07/2006 9:42 AM  

  • "I believe the bible teaches that all mens sins against the Law of God have been atoned for on the cross. The only sin that keeps us out of the book of life is the sin of unbelief in Christ for everlasting life. 1 John 5:10-11"

    So are you saying that Jesus'atonement did not cover all sins? He died for every single sin except one? I'm not thinking the Bible teaches that at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/07/2006 10:30 AM  

  • Jesus' atonement does not cover sins of those who do not believe. In that sense unbelief is unpardonable. When one believes their former unbelief will be forgiven.

    Jesus Himself spoke of a sin that is not forgiven in Matthew 12:31-32, so the Bible does seem to me to teach that He died for all sins but one.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at 6/07/2006 1:25 PM  

  • Hey sis,

    I'm pretty much in line with Loren on this. If we perceive salvation as an event, a process and a goal then these references seem to fit well.

    By Blogger Kc, at 6/08/2006 7:13 AM  

  • Hello Matthew,
    If I can make YOU think, then I feel good about posting. Be reconciled to God - I think it is a message for believers in this passage. I agree with your statement about believers being out of fellowship with God - this has happened to me. I also think the message has an application to unbelievers because I think they are mentioned in the passage also. (I think this application is similar to the application of behold, I stand at the door and knock and if any man hear my voice ... That is obviously to a specific church or type of church, (believers) but it can be applied to those who have no relationship with Christ as well.) What do you think about parralels between those passages?
    Thanks for your visit. You bless me.

    Hi Kris,
    LOL - when you visited this post at the other blog, I really appreciated your comment. I opened it up again because I thought it could use some more dissection. I am not sure what I am looking for, to answer your question. I just find it to be a very powerful passage that doesn't fit so neatly into theological systems. Verse 19 - God has committed unto us the message of reconciliation - in that verse - who is the message for? Is this saying that God has committed unto Paul and his immediate company the message to the church: be reconciled to God ... or is Paul saying that He has committed unto all believers the message to all men be reconciled to God? It puzzles me, but I think there is a lot here. Your comments make sense, but do you see what I am asking? What do you think about my questions about verse 19 - both in this comment and in the post?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 6/08/2006 9:58 AM  

  • Hi Ambiance!
    You don't think you're smart enough? Come now - you've been where I am ... and have moved on ... so surely you are smarter than I! :~)
    I think your answer is great. Feel free to share more insight if it comes to you. What do you think receiving God's grace in vain means?

    So, be reconciled to God is a message both to the unbeliever and the believer (reciever of the gospel)? I can see how that would work. I have to think some more about your assessment - and I am going to look at the outline Blaurock is pointing me toward. I definatley can't see how it would be the plain meaning 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them ... was just referring to one specific select group ... so that is why it seems to me that unbelievers are mentioned in this passage. If it were talking of a limited group, it seems it should say; God was reconciling the [church] or [insert theological hobby-horse] to himself in Christ, not counting their (instead of "men's") sins against them.

    Thanks for your comments. Feel free to try and persude me further of your thoughts. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 6/08/2006 10:15 AM  

  • Hi Blaurock,
    Thanks for the link - I am going to look at it when I am done here. It is a good thing to provide others with resources for learning.
    Can't you give me your thoughts on the passage?! Or ... would that be too easy for me? :~)

    Hi Gayla.
    What do you think the "unpardonable sin" of Matthew 12:31-32 is? I don't necessarily think it is referring to unbelief, but there is a sin that He mentions. He calls it "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit."

    Gayla, do you you have any thoughts on my post? I would love to hear your thoughts!

    That is quite a subject (atonement of sin) that you bring up - one that I find very loaded!! I am considering the idea that I have read from Kris and others that sin has been taken out of the way ... and now the only thing that needs to be dealt with is reception or rejection of the gospel - lack or presence of eternal life - a lack or presence of God's life in us. I am considering this. The idea has Scripture to back it up - like verse 19 of the passage I have posted, unless of course it doesn't mean what it seems to mean (see my comment to Cleopas). What do you think?

    Hi KC!
    That was too easy ... just agreeing with another blogger. ;~) Thanks for visiting!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 6/08/2006 10:27 AM  

  • Dear Rose,
    I would rather give you leads to the interpretation of 2 Cor.5 than to just give my own verse by verse view.
    The key is usually kept near the locked door.
    If you notice, all of the comments so far have missed the context and gone for the precise text.
    Paul was being doubted as an apostle. The whole context of 2 Corinthians is within that framework. Several of the texts are given broad brushstrokes on purpose. The Corinthians needed reconciliation Paul-ward and Godward. Paul-ward for the "swayed" and God-ward toward the still not yet "saved."
    A believer does not need to be reconciled to God. They are IN Christ and forever "in the beloved." Not all Corinthians were actual believers, and those who were had need of warning against the super-apostles who were causing the occasion for the letter.
    To interpret the verses "outside"
    of the context gives occasion
    for all types of speculation and mis-reading.
    There is no sin that Jesus did not die for. He became sin. He Himself IS the Propitiation for our sins AND the sins of the world.
    The Corinthian false teachers were destroying the message of reconciliation that Paul, and all believers are committed to. If they continued to allow the "Law-Cross" mix, the message would be powerless and without God's approval, and vain. That is really the context that MUST be understood before looking at the particular verses.
    This is where the outlines are so valuable for interpretation. They show the continuity of the argument and really flavor the attitude and punch of the nuts and bolts of the individual words. Without the context and flow, one guess is as good as another. This is the whole purpose of chapter 6.
    Let the false teachers go. Remember who introduced you to the Christ. Paul is moved. He is trying to move them, even to the point of foolishness in "boasting"
    and magnifying his sufferings to prove himself approved.

    To the ones who believe the believer needs to be reconciled to God when he is sinning, I would ask one question. When are you NOT sinning? Are we not reconciled through His blood and kept by His High Priestly intercession and representation? If you need to be reconciled every time you sin, where is your sense of identification?
    "Much more, since we HAVE BEEN RECONCILED will we be saved by His life." Romans 5:10

    The sense of fellowship and the "filling of the Spirit" is hindered by sin and coldness, but not our reconciliation.

    By Blogger Blaurock, at 6/08/2006 2:32 PM  

  • Rose~, I would never preach 'Behold I stand...' to unbelievers. I think it would create the impression that receiving eternal life is by fellowship, not faith. We must be very careful not to take verses from their context.

    I know an heretical Pentecostal freak who kept quoting that verse to prove that people are saved by 'asking Jesus into their hearts.' Quite deadly.

    Let us be clear in our presentation of the Gospel. He that BELIEVETH hath everlasting life.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/09/2006 3:53 AM  

  • Blaurock,
    I am still mulling over what you have said. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Would you say that Matt. 12:31-32 was talking about a sin that could only be committed by those particular people at that precise time? (That is my understanding of the passage).

    Absolutely, that verse should not be used to evangelize, it is to a church that was out of fellowship. I was merely asking if the application principle was the same as the one for the other verse.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 6/09/2006 7:43 AM  

  • That text is a little different, I suppose. The text in Revelation is a little more specific and is the words of Christ.

    But why use texts like this when there are plenty of other texts to use?

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/09/2006 10:57 AM  

  • My sister Rose:

    I think that Cleopas and Blaurock gave some very thoughtful answers.

    Now to your post...

    " 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
    20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

    I believe we must also look at Revelation 20:11-15. The dead were judged according to their works, according to what was written in the books. Also, Jesus did teach that man would have to give an account of every idle word spoken.

    Along with the fact, as Blaurock points out, that Paul had to defend his ministry against the super apostles,and redefine his ministry, it is important to note that this church did not exhibit strong evidence of regeneration, hence the message of reconciliation was preached again to them here. Paul later on challenged this same church to examine themselves to see if they be in the faith - 2 Cor. 13:5

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 6/09/2006 11:34 AM  

  • Hi Rose again,

    The Corinthian church was indeed made up of many regenerate people. it was those challenging Paul's apostleship that were the troublemakers as well as those not walking in love, which I hold to be THE sign of regeneration.

    If Paul was a false apostle, as his foes contended, than the Cor. church was not in the faith.

    His message of reconciliation was his defense of his apostleship as well as a call to those not walking in love.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 6/09/2006 1:21 PM  

  • Dear Rose,
    One important aspect of verse 20 is that the word "you" is not in the text. Paul is giving the "essence" of his ministry-"We beg men to be reconciled" He is giving the counter(fulfillment) to the objective work of God in Christ that he describes in verse 19. God opened the door-now we preach as those who exist to make known what has been "deposited" in us, or "lodged in us" which is this announcement-
    "Be reconciled to God." Then he emphasizes the intense magnitude of the work God did to enable the
    reconciliation in verse 21. The follow up is an appeal to the Corinthians to stay in tune with "him," and "his message."

    Look at verse 12 again to see one key to the section. Context is the life-blood of interpretation.

    Paul wants the Corinthians to look the false apostles in the face and say, "We were led to the truth by a man of integrity, before God and men. His message is not your message. We will continue as we started, with the apostolic news and we reject your distortions."

    In order to bring this about Paul gives many proofs,and no doubt, he shed tears. We really have no idea the depth of God's love that was shown and experienced in the apostle Paul. He hurt for churches in a way unknown to most.

    The question of "who" is 'you?' in verse 20 can safely be removed. It is a statement of content, not an order of command, although the content contains a command.

    Your question about Matthew 12 and the unpardonable sin is one that I believe is very important. It is not just mentioned in the generation of Jesus that committed it. Religious people throughout history have committed this sin, and still do today. Light rejected,light detested,light hated. This sin of Cain, Saul, the majority of Pharisees and the potential apostates of Hebrews are there for us to see, and be warned.

    The despite to the Spirit of Grace is nothing new and nothing relegated to one time peroiod of history.

    In His Love and Peace,

    By Blogger Blaurock, at 6/09/2006 1:27 PM  

  • Rose, Also, look at Romans 1:15. Paul is writing to Christian's here and says that he wants to preach the gospel to them. This verse is fascinating. Can christians ever stop hearing the gospel?

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 6/09/2006 1:44 PM  

  • A very helpful insight is in the word "reconciliation." This aspect of the work of God in Christ has been left out of many important discussions. It is so great a truth, with love and holy hatred for sin at the front. God, fully love, and God fully angry with sin. Awesome. Enter-"reconciliation"
    To really understand 2 Cor.5
    we have to get the meat of this term. It is not easy. Most men hop, skip and jump over it in their commentaries.
    James Denney does a great job in "The Death of Christ" (pages 85,86)

    By Blogger Blaurock, at 6/09/2006 2:11 PM  

  • Mark, no doubt there may have been some in Corith who were not truly converted. However, a good deal of his reprimands are to people who were truly regenerate.

    Paul's comments on the Lord's Supper are a clear indication that true believers were not acting in a loving manner. There were divisions among them and unseemly and unloving behaviour with regard to eating (1 Cor 11:21).

    That this is the unloving behaviour of believers not unbelievers is made clear by the address to 'brethren' and also 1Cor 11:32:

    "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/09/2006 2:51 PM  

  • The Bible never limits the Gospel to eternal life and justifcation. The good news includes all of the privileges and benefits of the Christian life, as well as the good news for creation.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 6/09/2006 2:54 PM  

  • Rose,
    I read through these passages again last night and decided that I needed to read the whole letter again to fully understand what Paul is saying. After reading the letter I am convinced that, like Blaurock(Joseph) has given in his comments, the overarching theme of Paul defending his apostleship is the key to understanding these passages.

    I pretty well agree with Blaurock and his view here so I won't add anything. Very good comments Joseph.

    By Blogger Kris, at 6/09/2006 6:36 PM  

  • Hi Mark!
    Thanks for your three thoughtful comments. I appreciate your visit. :~)

    You have really helped me. I am going to do what Chris has said that he did - I am going to read the whole letter this week, as I take a break from the computer, looking at the outline you have referred me to. Thanks so much!

    Thanks again for your participation! I can always depend on you to contribute.

    Methinks you have wisdom too. Thanks for the idea to just re-read the whole letter.

    God bless you all! Feel free to discuss some more while I am on a computer break if you wish.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 6/10/2006 6:24 PM  

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