King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Corinthians 5

The apostle’s hope and desire of heavenly glory. (1-8) This excited to diligence. The reasons of his being affected with zeal for the Corinthians. (9-15) The necessity of regeneration, and of reconciliation with God through Christ. (16-21)

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The apostle’s hope and desire of heavenly glory

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

This excited to diligence. The reasons of his being affected with zeal for the Corinthians

9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

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 hath done, whether it be good or bad.

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

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.

The necessity of regeneration, and of reconciliation with God through Christ

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 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.

20 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.

21 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Of this habitation.[1] In the Gr. of this tabernacle; i.e. of the body. S. Chrys. takes notice that a tabernacle, or tent, is not to dwell in for a long time, but only to lodge in for a while, as this life is short; but the building God has prepared for his elect in heaven, is for eternity. Wi. — But, although the hopes of possessing this eternal mansion consoles us interiorly, and supports us under the pressure of evil, the obligation we have of purchasing it, even at the expense of our lives, does not fail to afflict us. V.

Ver. 2. To be clothed over, signifying the natural desire men have not to die, but to be changed without dying to a happy state in heaven. Wi.

Ver. 3. That we may be found clothed, not naked,[2] not divested of the body, as before; i.e. we desire immortal happiness without dying: though some expound it, not naked; i.e. not deprived of the glory we hope for. Wi.

Ver. 5. He that maketh us for this very thing, (lit. to this same thing ) is God, who created us to be eternally happy, who hath given us the earnest of the Spirit. See C. i. v. 22. Wi.

Ver. 6. We are absent from the Lord, and as it were pilgrims. He compares the condition of men in this mortal life with that of pilgrims far from their own beloved country, yet with hopes to arrive there, which makes them willing to undergo dangers, and makes Christians even resigned to death, to a separation of the body from the soul, that they may be present with the Lord, and enjoy him. But let every one reflect that he must be judged, and receive a reward or punishment according to his works. v. 10. Wi.

Ver. 7. It is only by faith we now walk in this foreign land towards God; we do not as yet feast on Him by any clear view. V.

Ver. 11. Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord, and how dreadful a thing it is to appear at his tribunal, we endeavour to exhort men to fear and to worship him: and this intention is made known to God, who sees our heart: and I hope our sincere manner of asking and preaching is also known to your consciences. Wi.

Ver. 12. We commend not, nor desire to commend ourselves, but they who may do harm to others, and to the progress of the gospel, make it necessary to speak what may give you an occasion to answer their objections, and even to glory in my behalf against those who glory in face, in outward appearances of learning and talents, but not in heart, being sensible themselves that they have no solid grounds of boasting in this manner. Wi.

Ver. 12. For whether we be transported in mind, and out of zeal for the good of others seem to exceed in speaking of ourselves, it is to God, for God’s honour and that of his ministers: or whether we be more moderate,[3] (lit. sober ) that is, if I speak not, even what with truth I might, of my own actions, it is to you, to give you an example of modesty and humility.

Ver. 14. For the charity of Christ, the love of God, the love that Christ has shewn to me and all mankind, and a return of love due to him, presseth me on, is the motive of all that I do; because I consider that if one, our Redeemer Christ Jesus, died for all, then all were dead, and had been lost in their sins, had not Christ come to redeem us. Thus S. Aug. in many places, proving original sin against the Pelagians. Divers interpreters add this exposition, therefore all are dead; that is, ought to die, and by a new life look upon themselves as dead to sin, which is connected with what follows in the next verse. Wi.

Ver. 15. And Christ died for all, (not only for the predestinate or the elect) that they also, who live, may not now live to themselves; that they may not follow their own inclinations of their nature, corrupted by sin, but may seek in all things the will of Christ, their Redeemer, their Lord, to whom they belong, who died and rose again for them. Wi.

Ver. 16. Wherefore, henceforth we know no man according to the flesh; i.e. having our thoughts and hearts fixed upon Christ, as he is risen, and has prepared for us an immortal life, we know not, i.e. we do not esteem any thing in this mortal life, nor any man according to any human considerations of this life; we regard not whether they are Jews, and the sons of Abraham, or Gentiles; nay, if we have known and esteemed Christ, as descending from Abraham and David, now we know him so no longer, nor consider him as born a mortal man, but as he is risen immortal, and will bless us with an immortal and eternal glory. Wi.

Ver. 17. If then any be in Christ, &c. The sense seems to be, if by believing in Christ we are become as it were new creatures, rescued by his grace and his Spirit, the old things are passed away, we must renounce all former carnal affections, all sin and all errors in which either Jews or Gentiles lived. — Behold all things are made new: the New Testament succeeds to the Old, the law and doctrine of Christ to the law of Moses, the Christian Church to the Jewish Synagogue, truth and grace to types and figures, &c. Wi. — With the renovated Christian all his thoughts, sentiments, inclinations, and actions, are new.

Ver. 18. But all things (all these blessings of grace and glory) are of God, who hath sent his only divine Son, by whom he hath reconciled us to himself, by his incarnation and death for our redemption. Wi.

Ver. 19. Not imputing, i.e. truly taking away our sins, blotting out the handwriting of the decree which was against us, . . . fastening it to the cross, as it is said, Colos. ii. 14. And to us, who are his apostles and the ministers of his gospel, he hath imparted and committed this word of reconciliation, by the preaching of his doctrine, and the administration of his sacraments, &c. In these functions we act and we speak to you as the ambassadors of Christ; we speak to you in his name, we represent his person, when we exhort you to be reconciled to God. “He that heareth you, heareth me.” Luke x. 16. Wi.

Ver. 20. Be not deaf to this voice, harden not your hearts, suffer yourselves to be moved to the charity of God: it is immense, it is infinite. V.

Ver. 21. Him (Christ) who knew no sin, (who had never sinned, nor was capable of sinning) he (God) hath made[4] sin for us. I had translated, with some French translators, he hath made a sacrifice for sin, as it is expounded by S. Augustin and many others, and grounded upon the authority of the Scriptures, in which the sacrifices for sins are divers times called sins, as Osee iv. 8. and in several places in Leviticus, by the Hebrew word Chattat, which signifies a sin, and is translated a victim for sin. But as this is not the only interpretation, and that my design is always a literal translation of the text, not a paraphrase, upon second thoughts I judged it better to follow the very words of the Greek, as well as of the Latin text. For besides the exposition already mentioned, others expound these words, him he hath made sin for us, to signify that he made Christ like unto sinners, a mortal man, with the similitude of sin. Others that he made he reputed a sinner; with the wicked was he reputed; (Mar. xv. 28.) God having laid upon him all our iniquities. Isai. liii. 6. — That we might be made the justice of God in him; that is, that we might be justified and sanctified by God’s sanctifying grace, and the justice we receive from him. Wi. — Sin for us. That is, to be a sin-offering, a victim for sin. Ch.

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[1] V. 1. Habitationis, tou skenous.

[2] V. 3. Si tamen vestiti, non nudi inveniamur, eige kai endusamenoi: some read, ekdusamenoi. See S. Chrys.

[3] V. 13. Sive enim mente excedimus, Deo, sive sobrii sumus, vobis, eite gar exestemen, theo eite sophronoumen, umin. See Annot. Mar. iii. 21. p. 147.

[4] V. 21. Pro nobis peccatum fecit, uper emon amartian epoiesen. See S. Aug. l. de pec. Orig. c. 32. serm. 48. de verbis Dei. nunc 134. tom. v. p. 655. and Serm. vi. de verb. Apost. c. 8. Serm. clv. t. 5. p. 745. Epist. ad Honoratum 120, nunc 140. c. 30. tom. ii. p. 450, &c.