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!
11. terror of the Lord—the coming judgment, so full of terrors to unbelievers [Estius]. Ellicott and Alford, after Grotius and Bengel, translate, "The fear of the Lord" (2Co 7:1; Ec 12:13; Ac 9:31; Ro 3:18; Eph 5:21).
persuade—Ministers should use the terrors of the Lord to persuade men, not to rouse their enmity (Jude 23). Bengel, Estius, and Alford explain: "Persuade men" (by our whole lives, 2Co 5:13), namely, of our integrity as ministers. But this would have been expressed after "persuade," had it been the sense. The connection seems as follows: He had been accused of seeking to please and win men, he therefore says (compare Ga 1:10), "It is as knowing the terror (or fear) of the Lord that we persuade men; but (whether men who hear our preaching recognize our sincerity or not) we are made manifest unto God as acting on such motives (2Co 4:2); and I trust also in your consciences." Those so "manifested" need have no "terror" as to their being "manifested (English Version, 'appear') before the judgment-seat" (2Co 5:10).