2 Corinthians 5:10
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 has done, whether it be good or bad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) For we must all appear.—Better, must all be made manifest. The word is the same as that in 1Corinthians 4:5 (“shall make manifest the counsels of the heart”), and is obviously used with reference to it. It may be noted that it is specially characteristic of this Epistle, in which it occurs nine times. The English version, which can only be ascribed to the unintelligent desire of the translators to vary for the sake of variation, besides being weak in itself, hinders the reader from seeing the reference to 1Corinthians 4:5, or even the connection with the “made manifest” in the next verse.

Before the judgment seat of Christ.—The Greek word shows the influence of Roman associations. In the Gospels the imagery of the last judgment is that of a king sitting on his throne (Matthew 25:31), and the word is the ever-recurring note of the Apocalypse, in which it occurs forty-nine times. Here the judgment-seat, or bema, is the tribunal of the Roman magistrate, raised high above the level of the basilica, or hall, at the end of which it stood. (Comp. Matthew 27:19; Acts 12:21; Acts 18:12.) The word was transferred, when basilicas were turned into churches, to the throne of the bishop, and in classical Greek had been used, not for the judge’s seat, but for the orator’s pulpit.

That every one may receive the things done in his body.—It would have seemed almost impossible, but for the perverse ingenuity of the system-builders of theology, to evade the force of this unqualified assertion of the working of the universal law of retribution. No formula of justification by faith, or imputed righteousness, or pardon sealed in the blood of Christ, or priestly absolution, is permitted by St. Paul to mingle with his expectations of that great day, as revealing the secrets of men’s hearts, awarding to each man according to his works. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7) was to him an eternal, unchanging law. The revelation of all that had been secret, for good or evil; the perfectly equitable measurement of each element of good or evil; the apportionment to each of that which, according to this measurement, each one deserves for the good and evil which he has done: that is the sum and substance of St. Paul’s eschatology here and in 1Corinthians 4:5. At times his language seems to point to a yet fuller manifestation of the divine mercy as following on that of the divine righteousness, as in Romans 5:17-18; Romans 11:32. At times, again, he speaks as if sins were washed away by baptism (1Corinthians 6:11), or forgiven freely through faith in the atoning blood (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:13); as though the judgment of the great day was anticipated for all who are in Christ by the absence of an accuser able to sustain his charge (Romans 8:3), by the certainty of a sentence of acquittal (Romans 8:1). If we ask how we can reconcile these seeming inconsistencies, the answer is, that we are not wise in attempting to reconcile them by any logical formula or ingenious system. Here, as in other truths of the spiritual life—God’s foreknowledge and man’s free-will, God’s election and man’s power to frustrate it, God’s absolute goodness and the permission of pain and evil—the highest truth is presented to us in phases that seem to issue in contradictory conclusions, and we must be content to accept that result as following from the necessary limitations of human knowledge.

5:9-15 The apostle quickens himself and others to acts of duty. Well-grounded hopes of heaven will not encourage sloth and sinful security. Let all consider the judgment to come, which is called, The terror of the Lord. Knowing what terrible vengeance the Lord would execute upon the workers of iniquity, the apostle and his brethren used every argument and persuasion, to lead men to believe in the Lord Jesus, and to act as his disciples. Their zeal and diligence were for the glory of God and the good of the church. Christ's love to us will have a like effect upon us, if duly considered and rightly judged. All were lost and undone, dead and ruined, slaves to sin, having no power to deliver themselves, and must have remained thus miserable for ever, if Christ had not died. We should not make ourselves, but Christ, the end of our living and actions. A Christian's life should be devoted to Christ. Alas, how many show the worthlessness of their professed faith and love, by living to themselves and to the world!For we must - (δεῖ dei). It is proper, fit, necessary that we should all appear there. This fact, to which Paul now refers, is another reason why it was necessary to lead a holy life, and why Paul gave himself with so much diligence and self-denial to the arduous duties of his office. There is a necessity, or a fitness that we should appear there to give up our account, for we are here on trial: we are responsible moral agents; we are placed here to form characters for eternity. Before we receive our eternal allotment it is proper that we should render our account of the manner in which we have lived, and of the manner in which we have improved our talents and privileges. In the nature of things, it is proper that we should undergo a trial before we receive our reward, or before we are punished; and God has made it necessary and certain, by his direct and positive appointment, that we should stand at the bar of the final judge; see Romans 14:10.

All - Both Jews and Gentiles; old and young; bond and free; rich and poor; all of every class, and every age, and every nation. None shall escape by being unknown; none by virtue of their rank, or wealth; none because they have a character too pure to be judged. All shall be arranged in one vast assemblage, and with reference to their eternal doom; see Revelation 20:12. Rosenmuller supposes that the apostle here alludes to an opinion that was common among the Jews that the Gentiles only would be exposed to severe judgments in the future world, and that the Jews would be saved as a matter of course. But the idea seems rather to be, that as the trial of the great day was the most important that man could undergo, and as all must give account there, Paul and his fellow-laborers devoted themselves to untiring diligence and fidelity that they might be accepted in that great day.

Appear - (φανερωθῆναι phanerōthēnai). This word properly means, to make apparent, manifest, known; to show openly, etc. Here it means that we must be manifest, or openly shown; that is, we must be seen there, and be publicly tried. We must not only stand there, but our character will be seen, our desert will be known, our trial will be public. All will be brought, from their graves, and from their places of concealment, and will be seen at the judgment-seat. The secret things of the heart and the life will all be made manifest and known.

The judgment-seat of Christ - The tribunal of Christ, who is appointed to be the judge of quick and dead; see the John 5:25 note; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31 notes. Christ is appointed to judge the world; and for this purpose he will assemble it before him, and assign to all their eternal allotments; see Matthew 25.

That every one may receive - The word rendered "may receive" κομίσηται komisētai means properly to take care of, to provide for; and in the New Testament, to bear, to bring Luke 7:37; to acquire, to obtain, to receive. This is the sense here. Every individual shall take, receive, or bear away the appropriate reward for the transactions of this life of probation; see Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25.

The things - The appropriate reward of the actions of this life. "done in his body." Literally, "the things by or through (διὰ dia) the body." Tyndale renders it: "the works of his body." The idea is, that every man shall receive an appropriate reward for the actions of this life. Observe here:

(1) That it is the works done in or through the body; not which the body itself has done. It is the mind, the man that has lived in the body, and acted by it, that is to be judged.

(2) it is to be for the deeds of this life; not for what is done after death. People are not to be brought into judgment for what they do after they die. All beyond the grave is either reward or punishment; it is not probation. The destiny is to be settled forever by what is done in this world of probation.

(3) it is to be for all the deeds done in the body; for all the thoughts, plans, purposes, words, as well as for all the outward actions of the man. All that has been thought or done must come into review, and man must give an account for all.

According to that he hath done - As an exact retribution for all that has been done. It is to be a suitable and proper recompence. The retribution is to be measured by what has been done in this life. Rewards shall be granted to the friends, and punishments to the foes of God, just in proportion to, or suitably to their deeds in this life. Every man shall receive just what, under all the circumstances, he ought to receive, and what will be impartial justice in the case. The judgment will be such that it will be capable of being seen to be right; and such as the universe at large, and as the individuals themselves will see ought to be rendered.

Whether it be good or bad - Whether the life has been good or evil. The good will have no wish to escape the trial; the evil will not be able. No power of wickedness, however great, will be able to escape from the trial of that day; no crime that has been concealed in this life will be concealed there; no transgressor of law who may have long escaped the punishment due to his sins, and who may have evaded all human tribunals, will be able to escape there.

10. appear—rather, "be made manifest," namely, in our true character. So "appear," Greek, "be manifested" (Col 3:4; compare 1Co 4:5). We are at all times, even now, manifest to God; then we shall be so to the assembled intelligent universe and to ourselves: for the judgment shall be not only in order to assign the everlasting portion to each, but to vindicate God's righteousness, so that it shall be manifest to all His creatures, and even to the conscience of the sinner himself.

receive—His reward of grace proportioned to "the things done," &c. (2Co 9:6-9; 2Jo 8). Though salvation be of grace purely, independent of works, the saved may have a greater or less reward, according as he lives to, and labors for, Christ more or less. Hence there is scope for the holy "ambition" (see on [2313]2Co 5:9; Heb 6:10). This verse guards against the Corinthians supposing that all share in the house "from heaven" (2Co 5:1, 2). There shall be a searching judgment which shall sever the bad from the good, according to their respective,deeds, the motive of the deeds being taken into account, not the mere external act; faith and love to God are the sole motives recognized by God as sound and good (Mt 12:36, 37; 25:35-45),

done in his body—The Greek may be, "by the instrumentality of the body"; but English Version is legitimate (compare Greek, Ro 2:27). Justice requires that substantially the same body which has been the instrument of the unbelievers' sin, should be the object of punishment. A proof of the essential identity of the natural and the resurrection body.

The apostle declareth, either the ground of his confidence, or, rather, the reason of his and other believers’ labour, so to behave themselves, as that, both in life and death, they might be accepted of God; that was, his knowledge and firm belief of the last judgment. It is called

the judgmentseat of Christ, because he it is whom God hath appointed to be the judge both of the quick and the dead, Acts 10:42. The word translated appear, is pefanerwsyai, which signifieth to be made manifest, and so signifieth not only to appear, but to be inquired into, searched, and examined, and narrowly sifted: and this lets us know, that those texts which speak of believers not being judged, or not coming into judgment, must not be understood of the judgment of inquiry, (for all shall come into that judgment), but of the judgment of condemnation. And it lets us also know the vanity of their opinion, who think that pagans shall not rise again in the last day.

That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad: the end of this judgement is declared, that every man may receive according to what he hath done in his body; that is, according to the thoughts he hath thought, the words that he hath spoken, the actions which he hath done, during the time that his soul dwelt upon the earth in his body; whether the things which he did in that state were good, and such things as God required; or sinful, and contrary to the revealed will of God. What this receiving means, we are told, Matthew 25:46: These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. Hence we read, John 5:29, of a resurrection of life, and a resurrection of damnation. For we must all appear,.... This is a reason why the saints are so diligent and laborious, so earnest and intent upon it, to be accepted of the Lord, because they must stand

before the judgment seat of Christ; who is appointed Judge of the whole earth, who is every way qualified for it, being God omnipotent and omniscient; and when he comes a second time will sit upon his great white throne, a symbol of purity and integrity, and will enter on this work, and finish it with the strictest justice and equity: and before him "we must all appear"; all the saints as well as others, ministers and people, persons of all ranks and conditions, of every nation, age, and sex; there will be no avoiding this judgment, all "must appear", or "be made manifest"; they will be set in open view, before angels and men; their persons, characters, and actions, even the most secret will be:

that everyone may receive the things done in his body; which he has performed by the members of the body as instruments thereof, or whatsoever he has done whilst in the body; and so this not only reaches to words and actions, but includes all the secret thoughts of the mind, and counsels of the heart, which will be made manifest: and when it is said, that "everyone shall receive" these; the meaning is, that he shall receive the reward of them,

according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad; the reward of good works will be of grace, and not of merit: good works will be considered at the last judgment, not as causes of eternal life and happiness, to which the saints will be adjudged; but will be produced in open court as fruits of grace, and as evidences of the truth of faith, which will justify the Judge in proceeding according to what he himself, as a Saviour, has said,

he that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. The reward of bad works will be in strict and just proportion, according to the nature and demerit of them. The Jews say (f), that

"all the works which a man does in this world, "in the body", and spirit, he must give an account of in body and spirit before he goes out of the world.''

And again (g), all the works of men are written in a book, , "whether good or evil", and for them all they must give account.

(f) Zohar in Gen. fol. 57. 3.((g) Midrash Hanneelim in Zohar in Gen. fol. 75. 4.

{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.

(h) We must all appear personally, and enquiry will be made of us, that all may see how we have lived.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 5:10. Objective motive of this strivin.

τοὺς γὰρ πάντας ἡμᾶς] no one excepted. It applies to all Christians; comp. Romans 14:10.

δεῖ] a divine appointment, which is not to be evade.

φανερωθῆναι] This does not imply “the concealment hitherto of the dead” (de Wette), for the living also are judged, but means: manifestos fieri cum occultis nostris (Bengel, comp. Beza). Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:5; Romans 2:16. Thus it is distinguished from the mere παραστῆναι, 2 Corinthians 4:14, Romans 14:10, for which Grotius takes it; and it is arbitrary to declare this distinction unnecessary (Rückert), since that conception corresponds alike with the word (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11) and the fact. Comp. Chrysostom and Theodore.

κομίσηται] Moral actions are, according to the idea of adequate requital, conceived as something deposited, which at the last judgment is carried away, received, and taken with us, namely, in the equivalent reward and punishment. Comp. Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25; Galatians 6:7; Matthew 6:20; Revelation 14:13.

τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος] sc. ὄντα, that which is brought about through the body, that which has been done by means of the activity of the bodily life (τὸ σῶμα as organic instrument of the Ego in its moral activity generally; hence not: τῆς σαρκός). Comp., on διὰ τοῦ σώματος, expressions like τῶν ἡδονῶν αἱ διὰ τοῦ σώματός εἰσιν, Plat. Phaed. p. 65 A; αἰσθήσεις αἱ διὰ τοῦ σώματος, Phaedr. p. 250 D, al.; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iv. 5. 3.[220] Instead of Luther’s: in the life of the body (so also de Wette and many others), through the life of the body would be better. There is no reason for taking the διά merely of the state (2 Corinthians 3:11). The thought of the resurrection-body, with which the recompense is to be received (to which view Osiander, following the Fathers and some older commentators, is inclined), is alien to the context (2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:8-9); besides, merely διὰ τοῦ σώμ. would be used without τά.

The πρὸς ἃ ἔπραξεν contains the standard of righteousness, in accordance with which every one κομίσεται τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος: corresponding to what he has done.

εἴτε ἀγαθὸν, εἴτε κακόν] sc. ἔπραξε. The recompense of the wicked may take place as well by the assigning of a lower degree of the Messianic salvation (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 9:6) as by exclusion from the Messianic kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9 f.; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5).

[220] The reading τὰ ἴδια τοῦ σώματος (Arm. Vulg. It. Goth. Or. twice, and many Fathers), which Grotius and Mill approved, is to be regarded as a gloss, in which τὰ διά was meant to be defined more precisely by τὰ ἴδια. In the Pelagian controversy the ἴδια acquired importance for combating the doctrine of original sin, because children could not have done any ἴδια peccata, and hence could not be liable to judgment. On the other hand, Augustine, Ep. 107, laid stress on the imputation of Adam’s sin, according to which it was the moral property even of children.

REMARK.

Our passage does not, as Flatt thought, refer to a special judgment which awaits every man immediately after death (a conception quite foreign to the apostle), but to the last judgment conceived as “near; and it results from it that, according to Paul, the atonement made through the death of Jesus, in virtue of which the pre-Christian guilt of those who had become believers was blotted out, does not do away with the requital of the moral relation established in the Christian state. Comp. Romans 14:10; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5. They come in reality not simply before the judgment (to receive their graduated reward of grace, as Osiander thinks), but into the judgment; in John 3:18, the last judgment is not spoken of, and as to 1 Corinthians 6:2 f., see on that passage. Paul, however, does not thereby say that, if the Christian has fallen and turns back again to faith, the atonement through Christ does not benefit him; on the contrary, the μετάνοια of the Christian is a repetition of his passing over to faith, and the effect of the atonement (of the ἱλαστήριον) is repeated, or rather continues for the Christian individual, so that even the Christian sins are blotted out, when one returns from the life of sin into that of faith. But the immoral conduct of Christians, continuing without this μετάνοια, is liable to the punishment of the judgment, because they in such an event have frustrated as to themselves the aim of the plan of redemption. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 379. This in opposition to Rückert’s opinion, that Paul knows nothing of a continuing effect of the merit of Christ. This continuing effect is implied not only in the general Pauline doctrine that eternal life is God’s gift of grace (Romans 6:23), and in the idea of Christ’s intercession (Romans 8:34; comp. Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2), but also in passages like 2 Corinthians 7:10, compared with Romans 5:9-10; Romans 5:17. We may add the apt remark of Lücke on 1 John, p 147: “As a single past and concluded fact, it (Christ’s atoning work) would be just a mere symbol; it has full truth only in its continuing efficacy.”2 Corinthians 5:10. τοὺς γὰρ πάντας κ.τ.λ.: for (explanatory of the reason of our desire to be “well-pleasing” to Him) we all (τοὺς πάντας is emphatic, not only Paul who has been speaking of himself as ἡμεῖς, but “all of us” quick as well as dead) must be made manifest. The A.V. “appear” weakens the force of the word; the Day of Judgment is to be a day when men’s characters shall be made patent to the world, and to themselves, as they have always been to God; cf. Mark 4:22, Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Revelation 20:12.—ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήμ κ.τ.λ.: before the judgment-seat of Christ. In the N.T. (see reff.) βῆμα is always used (except in the quotation Acts 7:5) of the official seat of a judge, although twice in the LXX (Nehemiah 8:4, 2Ma 13:26), as generally in classical Greek, it stands for the pulpit from which a formal speech is made.—ἵνα κομίσηται ἕκαστος κ.τ.λ.: that each one may receive, i.e., obtain the wages of (see reff.), the things done through the medium of the body (cf. Plato’s phrase αἰσθήσεις αἱ διὰ τοῦ σώματος, cited by Meyer; there is no need to identify διὰ τοῦ σώματος with ἐν τῷ σώματι of 2 Corinthians 5:6 as the A.V. and R.V. do) according to what he did, sc., in this present life (note the aorist and cf. Luke 12:47), whether it be good or bad (cf., for this constr. of εἴτεεἴτε, Ephesians 6:8, Php 1:18). Similar expressions are used of a future judgment, at, e.g., Ps. 61:13, Proverbs 24:12, Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 32:19 (cf. Job 34:11?) in the O.T., and in the N.T. at Romans 2:6; Romans 14:12, 1 Peter 1:17, in all of which passages the power of judgment is ascribed to the Eternal Father. But He “hath given all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22), and thus Christ is repeatedly spoken of as the future Judge of men, e.g., Matthew 16:27, Acts 17:31, Revelation 2:23; Revelation 22:12, and esp. Matthew 25:31-46. Cf. Luke 21:36, σταθῆναι ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. And so (from the present verse) the variant Χριστοῦ has crept into the parallel passage, Romans 14:10, πάντες γὰρ παραστησόμεθα τῷ f1βήματι τοῦ Θεοῦ. A reference to the O.T. parallels makes it tolerably plain that the statement that men will be judged according to their works is a broad and general one, and that to find a difficulty, as the Fathers did, in the case of the death of infants (whether baptised or unbaptised), who are incapable of self-conscious and voluntary actions, is quite perverse.10. For we must all appear] Literally, be manifested, the same Greek word being used as in the next verse. A reason for what goes before. It is natural to try and please God when present with Him. But even when absent, Christians do not forget that He will judge them.

before the judgment seat of Christ] Cf. Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 14:10. Observe that ‘God’ is the word used in the latter passage, as though “the two ideas were convertible.” Stanley. The βῆμα, or ‘judgment seat’ (trone, Wiclif), is in Classical Greek the pulpit from which the orators addressed the assemblies. In the N. T. it is used of the judge’s seat, which in the Roman basilica or judgment hall was “a lofty seat, raised on an elevated platform, so that the figure of the judge must have been seen towering above the crowd which thronged the long nave of the building.” Stanley. This, he adds, was “the most august representation of justice which the world at that time, or perhaps ever, exhibited.”

the things done in his body) Literally, through the body. Wiclif’s translation is more literal, ‘the propre thingis of the bodi, as he hath don.’ This is the reason why Christians are to strive during the present life to be pleasing to God. Their wages in the next world shall be according to their acts in this. Cf. Romans 2:5-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; Judges 14, 15.2 Corinthians 5:10. Τοὺς γὰρ πάντας, for all) when treating of death, the resurrection, and eternal life, he also thinks appropriately, of the judgment. The motive is herein assigned for that holy ambition.—πάντας ἡμᾶς, that we all) even apostles, whether abiding as pilgrims here or departing.—φανερωθῆναι) not only to appear in the body, but to be made manifest along with [as well as] all our secrets, 1 Corinthians 4:5. Even the sins of believers, which have been long ago pardoned will then be laid open; for many of their good deeds, their repentance, their revenge directed against their sin, in order to be made known to the world, require the revelation of their sins. If a man has pardoned his brother an offence, the offence will also be exhibited, etc. But that will be done to them, with their will, without shame and grief; for they will be different from what they were. That revelation will be made indirectly, with a view to their greater praise [credit, honour]. Let us consider this subject more deeply.

§ 1. The words of sacred scripture respecting the remission of sins are extremely significant. Sins are covered: they will not be found: they are cast behind: sunk in the sea: scattered as a cloud and as mist: without being remembered. Therefore not even an atom of sin will cleave to any, who shall stand on the right hand in the judgment.

§ 2. On the other hand, the expressions concerning all the works of all men, which are to be brought forward in the judgment, are universal, Ecclesiastes 12:14; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:13, etc., 2 Corinthians 4:5.

§ 3. The passage 2 Corinthians 5:10 is consistent with these, where the apostle from the manifestation of all, whether of those going home or of those remaining as pilgrims, before the tribunal of Christ, infers the TERROR of the Lord and of the Judge, 2 Corinthians 5:11-12, and declares that terror to be the occasion of anxiety not only to the reprobate, but also to himself and to those like himself. Such fear would have no existence in the case of the saints if the opinion as to their sins not being about to be revealed were assumed to be true. Furthermore Paul says, that he, and such as he, would be manifested not only so far as they have acted well on the whole, but also so far as they have failed in any particular. There is wonderful variety of rewards among those, who are saved; and demerits [of saints] have effect, though not indeed in relation to punishment [which the saints wholly escape] but to loss, as opposed to reward, 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 : comp. 2 Corinthians 1:14; Php 2:16; Php 4:1. That phrase, that every one may receive, etc., shows, that the deficiencies in the case of the righteous will be also manifested. For thus and thus only will it be manifested, why each man receives neither more nor less than the reward, which he actually receives. The Lord will render to every one, AS his work shall be.

§ 4. Wherefore we ought not to press too far the words quoted in § 1. The sins of the elect, which are past, will not cease to be the objects of the Divine Omniscience for ever, although without any offence and upbraiding. And this one consideration is of more importance, than the manifestation of their sins before all creatures, though it were to continue for ever, much less as it is, in the day of judgment alone, when their sins will appear not as committed, but as retracted and blotted out in consequence of repentance.

§ 5. In the case of the elect themselves, their own sins will not cease to be the object of their remembrance, although without any uneasiness attending it. He, to whom much has been forgiven, loves much. The everlasting remembrance of a great debt, which has been forgiven, will be the fuel of the strongest love.

§ 6. So great is the efficacy of the Divine word with men in this life, that it separates the soul from the Spirit, Hebrews 4:12, and lays bare the secrets of the heart, 1 Corinthians 14:25. Shame for what has been committed and remitted belongs to the soul, not the spirit. Men wallowing in gross sins often throw out their secrets; in despair they conceal nothing. But grace, much more powerful, renders those, who have received it, quite ingenuous. Men truly penitent proceed with the utmost readiness to the most open confessions of their secret wickedness, Acts 19:18. How much more in that day will they bear, that they be manifested, when the tenderness of the natural affections is entirely swallowed up? Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11. Such candour confers great peace and praise. If in the judgment there were room in the minds of the righteous, for example, for shame, I believe that those sins, which are now most covered, would cause less uneasiness, than those, of which they are less ashamed at the present time. We are most ashamed at present of the sins, which are contrary to modesty. But it is right, that we should be more ashamed of other sins, for example against the first table.

§ 7. That Adam was saved, we have no doubt, but his fall will be remembered for ever; for otherwise I do not understand, how the restitution made by Christ can be worthily celebrated in heaven. The conduct of David in the case of Uriah, the denial of Peter, the persecution of Saul, the sins of others, though they have been forgiven, have yet continued on record for so long a time in the Old and New Testament. If this fact presents no obstacle to the forgiveness long ago granted, the mention of sins will be no obstacle to their forgiveness even in the last judgment. It is not every manifestation of offences, which constitutes a part of punishment.

§ 8. Good and evil have so close a connection, as well as so inseparable a relation to each other, that the revelation of the good cannot be understood without the evil. But since certain sins of the saints shall be laid bare, it is fitting, that all the circumstances [all things] should be brought to light. This view tends to the glory of the Divine Omniscience and mercy; and in such a way as this the reasons for pronouncing a mild judgment on some, and a severe judgment on others, along with the accurate adjustment, ἀκριβείᾳ, of the retribution, will shine forth in all their brightness.

§ 9. I do not say, that all the sins of all the blessed will be actually and distinctly seen by all the creatures. Perhaps the accursed will not know them; the righteous will have no cause to fear each other. Their sins, when the light of that great day discloses all things, will not be directly manifested, as is done in the case of the guilty, who are punished, whence in Matthew 25 no mention is made of them, but indirectly, so far as it will be proper; just as in a court of justice among men, it often occurs, that many things are wont to enter into the full view [aspect] of the deed incidentally. And in some such way as this also the good works of the reprobate will be made manifest. All things may be known in the light, but all do not know all things.

§ 10. This consideration ought to inspire us with fear for the future; for it had this effect on the apostles, as this passage 2 Corinthians 5 shows. But if more tender souls shrink back from that manifestation, on account of their sins past; when they have been duly instructed from what has been said, especially at § 6, they will acquiesce [acquire confidence in regard to the manifestation of all sins in the judgment]. Often does truth, which at first appeared bitter, become sweet after closer consideration. If I love any one as myself, he may, with my full acquiescence, know all things concerning me, which I know concerning myself. We shall judge of many things differently, we shall feel differently on many subjects, until we arrive at that point.

Κομίσηται, may receive) This word is used not only regarding the reward or punishment, but also regarding the action, which the reward or punishment follows, Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25; Galatians 6:7.—ἕκαστος, every one) separately.—τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος) Man [along] with his body acts well or ill; [therefore also] man [along] with his body receives the reward; comp. Tertull. de resurr. carnis, c. 43. τὰπρὸς ἃ, those inmost thoughts, according to which he performed outward actions. διὰ τοῦ σώματος, while he was in the body, 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:82 Corinthians 4:10, comp. διὰ Romans 2:27.—εἴτε ἀγαθὸν εἴτε κακὸν, whether good or bad) construed with hath done. No man can do both good and evil at the same time.Verse 10. - We must all appear; rather, for it is necessary that we must all be made manifest; that we must be shown in our real nature and character. The verb is not the same as in Romans 14:10, which occurs in 2 Corinthians 4:14. Before the judgment seat of Christ. The special final judgment is represented as taking place before the bema of Christ, although in Romans 14:10 the best reading is "of God" (Matthew 25:31, 32). St. Paul might naturally use this Roman and Greek idea of the bema, being too familiar with it in his own experience (comp. Acts 12:21; Acts 18:12; Acts 25:6; Romans 14:10). The things done in the body; literally, the things (done) by the instrumentality of the body. Another reading (which only differs by a single letter from this) is, "the proper things of the body" (τὰ ἴδια τοῦ σώματος); i.e. the things which belong to it, which it has made its own. St. Paul, always intent on one subject at a time, does not stop to coordinate this law of natural retribution and inexorable Nemesis with that of the "forgiveness of sins" (1 Corinthians 5:11; Romans 3:25), or with the apparently universal hopes which he seems sometimes to express (Romans 5:17, 18; Romans 11:32). Omnia exeunt in mysterium. According to that he hath done; rather, with reference to the things he did. The aorist shows that all life will be as it were concentrated to one point. The Pelagians raised questions on this verse about the sinlessness of infants, etc., all of which may be left on one side, as probably nothing was more absolutely distant from the thoughts of St. Paul. Observe that each is to receive the natural issues of what he has done. There is to be an analogy between the sin and the retribution. The latter is but the ripe fruit of the former. We shall be punished by the action of natural laws, not of arbitrary inflictions. We shall reap what we have sown, not harvests of other grain (Romans 2:5-11; Revelation 22:12; Galatians 6:7). Whether it be good or bad. St. Paul, who always confines himself to one topic at a time, does not here enter on the question of the cutting off of the entailed curse by repentance and forgiveness. He leaves unsolved the antinomy between normal inevitable consequence and free remission. Appear (φανερωθῆναι)

Rev., better, be made manifest. Appear is not strong enough, since it implies only presence at the judgment-seat. The important fact is our being revealed as we are.

Judgment seat (βήματος)

See on Acts 7:5.

May receive (κομίσηται)

See on 1 Peter 1:8. Compare Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25.

In the body (διά)

Lit., through the body as a medium.

Bad (φαῦλον)

See on James 3:16.

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