2 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.
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(15) Should not henceforth live unto themselves.—St. Paul was not writing a theological treatise, and the statement was accordingly not meant to be an exhaustive presentment of all the purposes of God in the death of Christ. It was sufficient to give prominence to the thought that one purpose was that men should share at once His death and His life; should live not in selfishness, but in love; not to themselves, but to Him, as He lived to God. (Comp. Romans 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:5-7.) Now we see the full force of “the love of Christ constraineth us,” and “we love Him because He first loved us.” If He died for us, can we, without shame, frustrate the purpose of His death by not living to Him?

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!And that he died for all ... - This verse is designed still further to explain the reasons of the conduct of the apostle. He had not lived for himself. He had not lived to amass wealth, or to enjoy pleasure, or to obtain a reputation. He had lived a life of self-denial, and of toil; and he here states the reason why he had done it. It was because he felt that the great purpose of the death of the Redeemer was to secure this result. To that Saviour, therefore, who died for all, he consecrated his talents and his time, and sought in every way possible to promote his glory.

That they which live - They who are true Christians, who are made alive unto God as the result of the dying love of the Redeemer. Sinners are dead in sins. Christians are alive to the worth of the soul, the presence of God, the importance of religion, the solemnities of eternity; that is, they act and feel as if these things had a real existence and as if they should exert a constant influence upon the heart and life.

("They which live." This spiritual life, doubtless, implies that a man is alive to the worth of the soul, the presence of God, etc.; but it intimates something deeper too, which is the foundation of those things, and without which they could not exist. Scott paraphrases thus, "were quickened and pardoned, and so passed from death to life;" and Guyse still more explicitly, "were made supernaturally alive by his quickening spirit and by faith in him." This is the root; the things mentioned in the comment, the fruit; this the cause, these only the effects.)

It is observable that Paul makes a distinction here between those for whom Christ died and those who actually "live," thus demonstrating that there may be many for whom he died who do not live to God, or who are not savingly benefitted by his death. The atonement was for all, but only a part are actually made alive to God. Multitudes reject it; but the fact that he died for all; that he tasted death for every man, that he not only died for the elect but for all others, that his benevolence was so great as to embrace the whole human family in the design of his death, is a reason why they who are actually made alive to God should consecrate themselves entirely to his service. The fact that he died for all evinced such unbounded and infinite benevolence that it should induce us who are actually benefitted by his death, and who have any just views of it, to devote all that we have to his service.

Should not henceforth live unto themselves - Should not seek our own ease and pleasure; should not make it our great object to promote our own interest, but should make it the grand purpose of our lives to promote his honor, and to advance his cause. This is a vital principle in religion, and it is exceedingly important to know what is meant by living to ourselves, and whether we do it. It is done in the following, and perhaps in some other ways:

(1) When people seek pleasure, gain, or reputation as the controlling principle of their lives.

(2) when they are regardless of the rights of others, and sacrifice all the claims which others have on them in order to secure the advancement of their own purposes and ends.

(3) when they are regardless of the needs of others, and turn a deaf ear to all the appeals which charity makes to them, and have no time to give to serve them, and no money to spare to alleviate their needs; and especially when they turn a deaf ear to the appeals which are made for the diffusion of the gospel to the benighted and perishing.

(4) when their main purpose is the aggrandizement of their own families, for their families are but a diffusion of self. And,

(5) When they seek their own salvation only from selfish motives, and not from a desire to honor God. Multitudes are selfish even in their religion; and the main purpose which they have in view, is to promote their own objects, and not the honor of the Master whom they profess to serve. They seek and profess religion only because they desire to escape from wrath, and to obtain the happiness of heaven, and not from any love to the Redeemer or any desire to honor him, Or they seek to build up the interests of their own church and party, and all their zeal is expended on that and that alone, without any real desire to honor the Saviour. Or though in the church, they are still selfish, and live wholly to themselves. They live for fashion, for gain, for reputation. They practice no self-denial; they make no effort; to advance the cause of God the Saviour.

But unto him ... - Unto the Lord Jesus Christ. To live to him is the opposite to living unto ourselves. It is to seek his honor; to feel that we belong to him; that all our time and talents; all our strength of intellect and body; all the avails of our skill and toil, all belong to him, and should be employed in his service. If we have talents by which we can influence other minds, they should be employed to honor the Saviour. If we have skill, or strength to labor by which we can make money, we should feel that it all belongs to him, and should be employed in his service. If we have property, we should feel that it is his, and that he has a claim upon it all, and that it should be honestly consecrated to his cause. And if we are endowed with a spirit of enterprise, and are suited by nature to encounter perils in distant and barbarious climes, as Paul was, we should feel like him that we are bound to devote all entirely to his service, and to the promotion of his cause.

A servant, a slave, does not live to himself but to his master. His person, his time, his limbs, his talents, and the avails of his industry are not regarded as his own. He is judged incapable of holding any property which is not at the disposal of his master. If he has strength, it is his master's. If he has skill, the avails of it are his master's. If he is an ingenious mechanic, or labors in any department; if he is amiable, kind, gentle, and faithful, and adapted to be useful in an eminent degree, it is regarded as all the property of his master. He is bound to go where his master chooses; to execute the task which he assigns; to deny himself at his master's will; and to come and lay the avails of all his toil and skill at his master's feet. He is regarded as having been purchased with money; and the purchase money is supposed to give a right to his time, his talents, his services, and his soul. Such as the slave is supposed to become by purchase, and by the operation of human laws, the Christian becomes by the purchase of the Son of God, and by the voluntary recognition of him as the master, and as having a right to all that we have and are. To him all belongs; and all should be employed in endeavoring to promote his glory, and in advancing his cause.

Which died for them, and rose again - Paul here states the grounds of the obligation under which he felt himself placed, to live not unto himself but unto Christ.

(1) the first is, the fact that Christ had died for him, and for all his people. The effect of that death was the same as a purchase. It was a purchase; see the note, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; compare 1 Peter 1:18-19.


15. they which live—in the present life (2Co 4:11, "we which live") [Alford]; or, they who are thus indebted to Him for life of soul as well as body [Menochius].

died for them—He does not add, "rose again for them," a phrase not found in Paul's language [Bengel]. He died in their stead, He arose again for their good, "for (the effecting of) their justification" (Ro 4:25), and that He might be their Lord (Ro 14:7-9). Ellicott and Alford join "for them" with both "died" and "rose again"; as Christ's death is our death, so His resurrection is our resurrection; Greek, "Who for them died and rose again."

not henceforth—Greek, "no longer"; namely, now that His death for them has taken place, and that they know that His death saves them from death eternal, and His resurrection life brings spiritual and everlasting life to them.

And he died for all those for whom he died, not only to redeem them from the guilt of sin, but also from their vain conversation; that they which live by his grace, might not make themselves the end of their life, and live to serve themselves, and gratify their own corrupt inclinations; but might make the service of Christ, the honour and glory of him who died for them, and also rose again from the dead, the end of their lives; arguing the reasonableness of a holy and Christian life, from the love and end of Christ in dying for them; according to that, Romans 14:7,8: For none of us, liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. This is one way by which a believer fetcheth strength from the death of Christ to die unto sin, and from his resurrection to live unto newness of life; he concluding: If Christ died, and rose again for him, that then he was once dead in trespasses and sins; and therefore he judgeth himself obliged, now that he is made spiritually alive, not to live to himself, or serve his own profit, honour, reputation, lusts, or passions, but to live in obedience to him, and to the honour and glory of him, who died to redeem him from the guilt and power of sin, and rose again to quicken him to newness of life and conversation, to the honour and glory of his Redeemer.

And that he died for all, that they which live,.... The end of Christ's dying for men was that they might live; live, in a legal sense, live a life of justification; and that they which live in such a sense,

should not henceforth live unto themselves: to their own lusts, and after their own wills, to either sinful self, or righteous self:

but unto him which died for them, and rose again; that is, for them, for their justification; for all those for whom Christ died, for them he rose again; and who were justified, acquitted, and discharged when he was; which cannot be said of all mankind; and which is an obligation on such persons to live to Christ, to ascribe the whole of their salvation to him, and to make his glory the end of all their actions. Some copies read, "which died for them all".

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth {n} live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

(n) See Ro 6:1-7:25

2 Corinthians 5:15. Continuation or second part of the judgment, in consequence of which the love of Christ συνέχει ἡμᾶς.

ὑπέρ has the emphasis, whereas in 2 Corinthians 5:14 the stress lay on εἷς and πάντων. “And (that) He died for the benefit of all (with the purpose) that (because otherwise this ὑπέρ would be frustrated) the living should no mere (as before the death they had died with Christ) live to themselves, i.e. dedicate their life to selfish ends, but,” etc. Comp. Romans 14:7 ff.

οἱ ζῶντες] Paul might also have said οἱ πάντες; but οἱ ζῶντες is purposely chosen with retrospective reference to οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον, and that as subject (the living), not as apposition (as the living, Hofmann), in which view the life meant is held to be the earthly one, which Jesus left when He died; but this would only furnish a superfluous and unmeaning addition (it is otherwise at 2 Corinthians 4:11), and so also with de Wette’s interpretation: so long as we live. No; it is the life, which has followed on the ἀπέθανον. He, namely, who has died with Christ is alive from death, as Christ Himself has died and become alive (Romans 14:9); He who has become αύμφυτος with His death, is so also with His resurrection (Romans 6:5). Thus the dead are necessarily the ζῶντες, by sharing ethically the same fate with Christ, Galatians 2:19 f. Their ζωή is, consequently, doubtless in substance the life of regeneration (Erasmus, Beza, Flatt, and others); it is not, however, regarded under this form of conception, but as καινότης ζωῆς (Romans 6:4), out of death. Comp. Romans 6:8-11. Rückert, in accordance with his incorrect taking of ὑπέρ in the sense of ἀντί (see on 2 Corinthians 5:14), explains: “those, for whom He has died, on whom, therefore, death has no more claims.”

καὶ ἐγερθέντι] is correlative to the οἱ ζῶντες, in so far as these are just the living out of death, whose life is to belong to the Living One; and ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν belongs also to ἐγερθ., since Christ is raised διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν (Romans 4:25). Comp. on Php 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:17.

Note, further, that Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:15 writes in the third person (he does not say we), because he lays down the whole judgment beginning with ὅτι as the great, universally valid and fundamental doctrine for the collective Christian life, that he may then in 2 Corinthians 5:16 let himself emerge in the ἡμεῖς. He would not have written differently even if he had meant by ἀγάπη τ. Χριστοῦ his love to the Lord (in opposition to Hofmann). Much that is significant is implied in this doctrinal, objective form of confession.

2 Corinthians 5:15. κρίναντας τοῦτο ὅτι εἶς κ.τ.λ.: judging this; that One died for all (cf. Romans 5:15), therefore all died, and He died for all, that they who live (see 2 Corinthians 3:11) should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who died and rose again for them. To die ὑπέρ τῶν φίλων αὐτοῦ is the greatest proof that anyone can offer of his love (John 15:13). The proof to us of the Love of Christ to all is that He died ὑπὲρ πάντων. Of this Death two consequences are now mentioned: (a) one objective and inevitable, quite independent of our faith and obedience; (b) another subjective and conditional. (a) ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον, then all died, sc., in Him who is the “recapitulation” of all humanity, Jew and Greek, bond and free, faithless or believing. We must not weaken the force of οἱ πάντες: the Incarnation embraces all men (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:22). The A.V. “then were all dead” (the same mistranslation occurs Romans 6:2, Colossians 3:3) does not bring out the sense, which is that the Dying of Christ on the Cross was in some sort the dying of all mankind. But (b) the purposes of the Atonement are not completely fulfilled without the response of man’s faith and obedience; He died for all, ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες κ.τ.λ. This is the frequent exhortation of St. Paul (Romans 6:11 and see 1 Peter 3:18); the purpose of Christ’s Death is to lead us to Life, a life “unto God” (cf. Romans 6:11; Romans 14:7-8)—the “life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:19) which must be begun here if it is to be perfected hereafter. The preposition ὑπέρ, “on behalf of” (cf. chap. 2 Corinthians 12:10), employed in these verses is the one usually employed in the N.T. to express the relation between Christ’s Atoning Death and our benefit: it was “for our sake,” “on our behalf” (e.g., Luke 22:19-20, John 10:15; John 11:51, Romans 5:6, 1 Corinthians 1:13, Galatians 3:13, Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 3:16). It is not equivalent to ἀντί, “instead of” (although in Philemon 1:13 its meaning approximates thereto), and ought not to be so translated; although the preposition ἀντί is used of our Lord’s Atoning Work in three places (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1 Timothy 2:6), and the implied metaphor must have a place in any complete theory of the Atonement. But here ὑπέρ is (as usual) used, and the rendering “instead of,” even if linguistically possible (which it is not), is excluded by the fact that in the phrase ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι, ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν is governed by both participles. Christ rose again “on our behalf”; He is never said to have risen “instead of us”.

15. that they which live should not … live unto themselves] Cf. Romans 5:8-11; Romans 6:10-13; Romans 14:7; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24-25; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 John 5:18 See also note on ch. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11. Christ’s death is our life, because He thus made atonement for sin, reconciled us to the Father, shewed how He could be ‘both just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,’ and thus made obedience possible for us on the principle that we were ‘reconciled to God,’ and that henceforth there would be ‘no condemnation for our past sins or present sinfulness, provided we set ourselves to ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ His death was the means of freeing us from our bondage to sin. His lift was the enabling power which wrought our conversion.

2 Corinthians 5:15. Κρίναντας, judging) with a most true judgment. Love and judgment are not opposed to each other in spiritual men.—ὑπὲρ πάντων, for all) for the dead and living.—ἄρα οἱ πάντες, then these all) Hence the full force of the ὑπὲρ, for and the utmost extent of the mystery is disclosed; not only is it just the same as if all had died, but all are dead; neither death, nor any other enemy, nor they themselves have power over themselves: they are entirely at the disposal and control of the Redeemer.—οἱ has a force relative to πάντων, for all. An apt universality. The teachers urge; and the learners are urged, because Christ died for both.—ἀπέθανον, are dead) and so now no longer do they regard themselves. The generous lovers of the Redeemer apply that principally to themselves, which belongs to all. Their death was brought to pass in the death of Christ.—καὶ, and) this word also depends on ὅτι, because. First, the words, one, and, for all, correspond; in the next place, died, and, that they should live.—οἱ ζῶντες, they that live) in the flesh.—ἀλλὰ, but) namely, that they should live, viz., in faith and a newly acquired vigour, Galatians 2:20.—τῷ) he does not say, ὑπὲρ τοῦ. It is the dative of advantage, as they call it; ὑπὲρ, denotes something more than this.—καὶ ἐγερθέντι, and rose again) Here we do not supply, for them; for it is not consonant with the phraseology of the apostle; but there is something analogous to be supplied, for example, [“that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living”] from Romans 14:9.

Verse 15. - Unto themselves. That they should live no longer the psychic, i.e. the animal, selfish, egotistic life, but to their risen Saviour (Romans 14:7-9; 1 Corinthians 6:19). 2 Corinthians 5:15
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