2 Corinthians 5:16-21
2 Cor 5:16 (KJB)
Wherefore (1) henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now (2) henceforth know we him no more.
Wherefore - So that
1) Henceforth - From now on
2) Henceforth - No longer or no more
When the Apostle Paul was still Saul, he was a persecutor of the church and thought of Christ as a blasphemer. He only knew of Christ according to the flesh, that is, His earthly ministry. When he was on the road to Damascus, the Lord met him and spoke with him. From that point on, Paul no longer had viewed Christ as a blasphemer but now knew that He was God in the flesh as He spoke with Paul from heaven. This principle also applies to how Paul viewed the Christians. One time he wanted to bind them all and try them for blasphemy but now Paul no longer looks at them as a sect but now viewed them as brethren. This principle is carried over to today. Before we became Christians, we saw Christ as a teacher or a preacher, and we saw His followers as fanatics. Once we became born again, we now see Christ for who He really is and that is the Son of God who has redeemed His children. No longer do we look at the Christians as fanatics or ďholly rollersĒ as I was once called in an Elders meeting but we view them as brethren in Christ. The real Christian is not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit and the outward appearance means nothing. (1 Sam 16:7 KJV) But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
2 Cor 5:17 (KJB)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Old things - Ancient or long standing
Passed away - Come to an end or elapsed
Paul starts out with a ďthereforeĒ and that is because he is continuing the thought from verse 16. We do not know Christ or Christians according to the flesh anymore and that is because anyone who has truly become born again is a new creature and because of salvation we view things much differently. No longer do we look at people through unsaved eyes but we see them through the new eyes of salvation. Paul had a radical change in his life and that was going from unbeliever to believer and that is experienced by every true believer. We were once dead to the things of God but we are now alive unto Him. (Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) We were once headed for eternal Hell but we are now headed for an eternity in Heaven. Here is the one we donít like. We were once walking with the world and all seemed well because we accepted its ways but now we walk opposite of the world and will face or have faced being ostracized by family and friends. The sinful ways have passed away and now we go the way of righteousness which means we are going to be misunderstood just as we misunderstood those who became saved before us.
2 Cor 5:18 (KJB)
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
Reconciled - To act so the opposite party removes their enmity
Of reconciliation - Restoration to favor
Here we see that it was God who reconciled us to Himself by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is because He named all those who were going to be saved before the foundation of them world, before we were even created. (Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4 states we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. This means that it is not man who decides to become saved but God working out His salvation plan from the beginning of the world to the last one at the end of the world. No one becomes saved unless they are in Christ. (Mat 1:21 KJV) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Christ came to save His people and not everyone in the world. (John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. All those whom the Father chose in Christ before the foundation of the world will come to Christ at their appointed time. It is in this way that God had removed the enmity which was between Him and the believer and reconciled us unto Himself. (Eph 2:16 KJV) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Not only are we reconciled unto God but He has, in turn, given to each true believer the ministry of reconciliation, that is, the authority to proclaim the true Gospel, whereby if a person becomes saved in Christ, they are reconciled unto God that very moment.
2 Cor 5:19 (KJB)
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
To wit - That is
Imputing - Reckon, count, or consider
Hath committed - To put, set, or place
Paul now continues with teaching on the doctrine of reconciliation. When the Lord Jesus Christ was here on earth, He never ceased to be God. In fact, this verse is teaching us that God was in Christ. (Col 2:9 KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Here is a good example of only being able to see this truth by being born again. The unsaved man does not see Christ as God but may only see Him as a teacher or as the New Agers see Him, an ascended master. God, through the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, was reconciling all those whom He named, before the foundation of the world, unto Himself. Those whom God named and Christ died for, will not have their sins imputed to them, that is God will never count the Christians sins against them because they have all been paid for. (Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Every trespass and sin that we have committed was forgiven in Christ because He paid for every sin we ever committed or will commit. They are gone! If they were not expunged, then the Christian would be in the same predicament as the unbeliever, having to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of every deed. If that were to happen, then even the believer would be cast into hell because he still had sins. Now another false belief would crop up if that was so, and that would be that Christís atonement was ineffectual and incomplete. This, of course, is a rank heresy because there is not one believer on earth who has retained any sin after Christís sacrifice. Two good examples were Moses and Elijah whop appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration. They were men and they would have sinned but the bottom line was that Christís sacrifice was complete and they both came from Heaven to the Mount. This means they were sinless because of Christís sacrifice and that is how every true believer stands before the Lord. Our standing of sinlessness before the Lord is owing to the complete redemption we received by Christís atonement. (Psa 103:12 KJV) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Since Christ removed our sins, we are therefore sinless in the sight of God. I am not speaking of Christian perfection where the body and soul is made sinless. The body will retain the ability to sin until it either dies or is transformed at the return of Christ. When the believer dies, in their spirit existence they go to be with the Lord but the body goes into the ground for its final decay.
2 Cor 5:20 (KJB)
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Ambassadors - An official representative
Did beseech - Beg, pray, or request
Stead - For or for the sake of
Since we have been born again by God through Christ, we are now made ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. Here Paul speaks of himself as an ambassador of Christ as he comes to the Corinthians preaching the true Gospel to them. Paul, like us who are saved, must realize one thing. An ambassador represents his country to another country. He conveys the thoughts and convictions of his government to the ones he is sent. It must be noted, that an ambassador does not bring his own message but that of his government. This means that we, as ambassadors, of the Kingdom of God are to bring the message of the Kingdom and that message is found only in the Bible. We are never to create or make up some type of theology of our own and then present it as biblical theology. We are to bring the message of the Scriptures without embellishing it for the purpose of making ourselves popular or insuring that others are not offended by the true teachings.
Paul is stating that his ambassadorship is so strong that it is like God beseeching the Corinthians through Paul. As we bring the true message of the Gospel, we are bringing the message of reconciliation as if God was beseeching the hearers through the message. In a way that is true because when we bring the true Gospel, we are bringing the words of God and we do plead with people to become saved but it is not a free will pleading. We are beseeching those whom God named before the foundation of the world who would become saved and respond to the call. This is true evangelism where we send out the Gospel to the world and God is the one who brings in the Elect. (Rev 18:4 KJV) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:3-4 describes the kingdom of Satan and how God calls His people out of that kingdom so they will escape its judgment by means of being saved in Christ.
2 Cor 5:21 (KJB)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
As Paul continues on in the doctrine of reconciliation, he brings out an important point that for believers to be reconciled unto God, it was necessary for Christ to become sin for us. Christ was totally sinless but He came to this world to die for the Elect and that meant he had to take on the sin of all the Elect He planned to save. This meant He took upon Him the sin of millions of Christians, he became sin for us, then as a result of His sacrifice, those billions of sins had become expunged from all the believers. Christ, who knew no sin, took sin upon Himself from those of us who knew sin. If He did not, then salvation could not be initiated in the lives of any of the Elect. The sins of the Elect were charged to Christ and as a result, those who became saved, righteousness was imputed to them. It was the great paradox in history that Christ became sin and man became righteous. (Isa 61:10 KJV) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. We can rejoice with Isaiah that we received the robe of righteousness, which is really the imputed robe of Christís righteousness.