|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:16-21 The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Saviour that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. The heart of the unregenerate is filled with enmity against God, and God is justly offended with him. Yet there may be reconciliation. Our offended God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. By the inspiration of God, the Scriptures were written, which are the word of reconciliation; showing that peace has been made by the cross, and how we may be interested therein. Though God cannot lose by the quarrel, nor gain by the peace, yet he beseeches sinners to lay aside their enmity, and accept the salvation he offers. Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?
Verse 20. - Now then. It is, then, on Christ's behalf that we are ambassadors. This excludes all secondary aims. St. Paul uses the same expression in Ephesians 6:20, adding with fine contrast that he is "an ambassador in fetters." As though God did beseech you by us; rather, as if God were exhorting you by our means. In Christ's stead; rather, we, on Christ's behalf, beseech you. Be ye reconciled to God. This is the sense of the embassy. The aorist implies an immediate acceptance of the offer of reconciliation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,.... Since God has made reconciliation by Christ, and the ministry of it is committed to us, we are ambassadors for him; we come with full powers from him, not to propose terms of peace, to treat with men about it, to offer it to them, but to publish and proclaim it as made by him: we represent him, and God who made it by him,
as though God did beseech you by us; to regard this embassy and message of peace, which we bring from him; to consider from whence it takes its rise, what methods have been used to effect it, and how it is accomplished; which should oblige to say and sing with the angels, "glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will towards men"; and to behave in peaceable manner to all men, and one another:
we pray you in Christ's stead; representing him as if he was present before you:
be ye reconciled to God; you, who are new creatures, for whom Christ has died, and peace is made; you, the members of the church at Corinth, who upon a profession of faith have been taken into such a relation; be ye reconciled to all the dispensations of divine Providence towards you; let your wills bow, and be resigned to his, since he is the God of peace to you; and as you are reconciled by Christ as a priest, be reconciled to him as your King, and your God; to all his ordinances and appointments; to all the orders and laws of his house; conform in all things to his will and pleasure, which we, as his ambassadors, in his name and stead, have made known unto you. You ought to be all obedience to him, and never dispute anything he says or orders.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. for Christ … in Christ's stead—The Greek of both is the same: translate in both cases "on Christ's behalf."
beseech … pray—rather, "entreat [plead with you] … beseech." Such "beseeching" is uncommon in the case of "ambassadors," who generally stand on their dignity (compare 2Co 10:2; 1Th 2:6, 7).
be ye reconciled to God—English Version here inserts "ye," which is not in the original, and which gives the wrong impression, as if it were emphatic thus: God is reconciled to you, be ye reconciled to God. The Greek expresses rather, God was the RECONCILER in Christ … let this reconciliation then have its designed effect. Be reconciled to God, that is, let God reconcile you to Himself (2Co 5:18, 19).
2 Corinthians 5:20 Parallel Commentaries
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