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"IN CHRIST"

2nd CORINTHIANS 5:14-17

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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. 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. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Did Paul the Apostle know Jesus?  I mean physically know Him?  They were both alive and at Jerusalem in the 30-33 AD time frame.  Paul was "saved" shortly after Jesus' Death, Burial and Resurrection.

This Text answers that question ... and gives some pretty sound theological information too!

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 14:

Paul in verse 17 gives us the "key" to his constantly being so "driven!"  So motivated!

"For the love of Christ constraineth us," he says.

That verb, "sunecho," is quite thought provoking!  It is found a dozen times in the New Testament.  It literally means "to hold" to someone!  Or "to hold" ("echo") "with" ("sun") them.  I almost want to say "to hold them in!"  Or "to hold them down!"  In reality, "to keep them under control!"

Here are some of its uses in the King James Bible.  I will capitalize the translation of "sunecho" in each reference.  Note the various renderings used.

"And His (Jesus') fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."  Mark 4:24.  (Here "sunecho" is used to mean "seized" with disease.  It's also treated this way, with sickness, in Luke 4:38 of Peter's Wife's Mother.)

The love of God had "seized" Paul!

"Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again."  Luke 8:37

This one is different!  "And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?"  Luke 8:45

Paul was "thronged" with the Love of God!

Now Jesus is talking about the Cross.  "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!"  Luke 12:50

Paul was "squeezed" or "constricted" by the Love of God!

And Jesus, predicting Israel's soon coming judgment, promised: "For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side."  Luke 19:43

Paul was "hemmed in" by the Love of God!

And read Luke 22:63.  "And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him."

The Apostle was "arrested" and "restrained" by the Love of God!

In stoning Stephen, the crowd ... "cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord."  Acts 7:57  (To squeeze one's hands over the ears ... to muffle sound!)

Acts 18:5, still using "sunecho," tells us:  "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ."

Then, talk about being "under the influence," note Acts 28:8.  "And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him."  That's right!  Here "sunecho" again carries the idea of being overcome of sickness.

Lastly, Paul says:  "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."  Philippians 1:24

What power this "love of Christ" has in Paul's life!

But, wait a minute. 

Is this "Love of Christ" our love for Him or His love for us?

It of course grammatically could be either.

But I'm sure here Paul has in mind God's amazing love to us!

That's what he writes so much about in his other Epistles anyway!

Paul never brags about how much he loved Jesus!

The Paul adds in 2nd Corinthians 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."

Now, this gets theological. 

To "judge" ("krino") is to exercise careful discernment.  To examine carefully in order to reach a wise conclusion.

The One who died for all is Jesus!

Here we get a view of the Atonement!

Paul's view.

Jesus died ("apothnesko" as an aorist verb) once in the past!  His Death is a finished act!  He will never die again!  Paul has the Cross of Calvary in view!

But ... look ... He died for all!

The preposition "for" is "huper" or "hyper" in Greek!

Jesus died "on our behalf!"

He died "in our stead!"

He suffered "in my place!'

This is vicarious Atonement!

A Substitutionary Death!

He died ... not for a select few ... but for all.

If you do not believe that, I can't change your mind.

It's just that you are disagreeing with the greatest Bible Teacher of all time outside of the Godhead Himself!  I mean Paul the Apostle.  Paul who received every word he wrote in this 14th verse ... straight from Almighty God.  I'm speaking of divine inspiration!

But ... if Jesus died for all ... then "all" (all who accept Him) are "dead!"

This places the saved individual in a position where he or she is DEAD WITH CHRIST!  Or, DEAD IN CHRIST! 

Then, logically, we need to tell folks as they are getting saved, that they are indeed "dying!"

"Dying" to what they used to be!

"Dying" to former desires!

"Dying" to the old man!

What a change this will bring!

This is exactly why Paul elsewhere writes:  "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."  Galatians 2:20

And what's exciting is this.

Paul is not through with this great thought yet!

In verse 15 he adds even more glorious truth!

Verse 15 ... tomorrow, Lord willing!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 15:

Today, Lord willing, we shall examine verse fifteen.  "And that He (Jesus) died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."  2nd Corinthians 5:15

Why did Jesus die?

Several reasons are given in Scripture ... but primarily to save sinners!

Also in dying Jesus pleased the Father!

Defeated the devil!

Populated Heaven!

Acquired a Bride!

And ... according to our verse above ... that we who are saved should "live unto Him!"

Since Jesus died "for" us, in our stead, on our behalf ... we are henceforth "in Christ" dead to what we formerly were!  No longer sinners!  No longer condemned!  No longer bound for Hell!

He died for all ... that all (who are saved by His Grace and through his Blood) which then live ... "should not live unto themselves!"

Here it is again:  "And that He (Jesus) died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

The first "live" here is a present participle.  Living day by day as God gives us breath and strength!

The second "live" is transformed into a subjunctive present active verb, revealing a desire or wish Paul has for the people of God!

Our longing should be ... and our resulting achievements should indicate ... a yearning to NOT live for ourselves!

The Christian life is truly an unselfish life!

"Unto themselves," the phrase, has no literal preposition in Greek.  It is expressed in the Dative case and fulfills the role of something like an indirect object in English.  "Not to live to or for ourselves!"

That's why Paul could say that for him ... "to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Or why he could encourage us all ... "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."  1st Corinthians 10:31

And ... "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."  Colossians 3:23-24

The "One Who died for us" is Jesus!

Live for Jesus!

Live with Him in view!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."  Hebrews 12:2

The Jesus Who not only died "for us," but also "rose again!"  This verb, "egeiro," is an aorist passive participle!  The Resurrection is a fact of history! Its action is completed! And  as a "passive" verb, Jesus is indicated to have been raised by the Father!  As Paul says in Romans 10:9, "God hath raised Him from the dead!"  See: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  Romans 10:9

What a single verse ... to give us a whole philosophy of the Christian life!

Talk about "compression!"

He died for me!

I am to live for Him!

Amen!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 16:

Did the Apostle Paul know Jesus?

I mean, did he ever see Jesus during our Lord's earthly Ministry?

Apparently so!

"We have known Christ after the flesh!"

"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."  2nd Corinthians 5:16

Paul has just taught us that if a person is saved, he is experiencing the very Life of Christ!

A Christian believes this:  Christ died for me!  Therefore I too must die to Him!  I am, in fact, dead in Christ!  But ... Christ did not stay dead!  He was raised from the grave by His omnipotent Father!  And just as I was dead in Christ, so now I am alive in the great ever living Christ!  Therefore the life I now live is not my own.  It is Christ Who lives in me!  Henceforth, all who have been saved are new people!  Dead to the old ways ... alive unto Christ our Lord!  Even my relationships with others have changed!  I will hereafter know no person simply after the flesh!  I will only know him as a brother in Christ!  A fellow pilgrim, walking this daily spiritual journey.

At least I believe that's the idea of what Paul has said in this Text so far!

And in verse 16, where he specifically says that he henceforth knows no man after the flesh, he is emphasizing the vital spiritual nature of the Christian life!

We are talking about total transformation!

Now Paul "knows" men not after the flesh, but after the spirit!

The verb "know," in Greek "eido," means to know intuitively.  This is knowledge God has imparted to you!  Spirit taught information!  This is not earned knowledge.  This is "given" knowledge, God given!

Paul walks not after the flesh!  See Romans 8:4.

Paul wars not after the flesh!  See 2nd Corinthians 10:3.

And Paul glories not after the flesh!  See 2nd Corinthians 11:18.

So, certainly Paul would not want to know any man after the flesh!  To fellowship with him on a purely human level!  To converse with him without any spiritual flavor being added to the encounter!

Then Paul admits that he did indeed know Jesus after the flesh!

This verb "know" is "ginosko" in Greek and means to acquire knowledge!  This is learned knowledge!  Something you gained by diligence!  Paul at some time had seen Jesus!  Maybe he even heard Him preach! 

Acts 22:3 tells us that Paul (Saul) before his conversion was a student of the great Rabbi Gamaliel.  And this same Gamaliel, according to Acts 5:34, defended the cause of the Gospel on at least one occasion!  Maybe Paul knew Jesus through his teacher!

Think of this!  Jesus' witness to Paul had to be extremely powerful!  Then Stephen's impact too was dramatic!  Paul was a "marked" man!  It would have been hard for him not to get saved!  What "conviction" he must have endured!

But ... Paul, while still knowing Jesus, no longer knows Him merely after the flesh!

He now knows Him in ... "the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death!"   Philippians 3:11

So much talk lately has centered solely around the "historical" Jesus!  Well, I would rather hear talk of the literal Jesus Who was also sinless in life, substitutionary in death, victorious in resurrection, amazing in ascension, powerful in intercession and visible in His soon return!

Know the Lord "in the Spirit" too!

Paul sure did!

Now, that's life "on a higher plane!"

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 17:

The last verse of our paragraph is powerful.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2nd Corinthians 5:17

Once a man is saved, he is "in" Christ!  In Latin that preposition would be in what's called the "locative" case.  It gives the "location" of one's existence!

The Greek language expresses such truth in the "dative" case, which is what we have here.

It is as if Jesus were a great big Circle, or better yet ... a Sphere.  Then, once a being is saved, he or she is placed in That Circle!  Within that glorious Ball or Sphere ... there to live for evermore!

We who believe are IN Jesus, folks!

Now, I know also that Christ is IN us too, but that's another sermon!

Paul here is just saying that when one is born-again, he is placed IN Jesus and things change! 

That "placing" of us into Christ Jesus is done by the Holy Spirit of God!  He indeed "baptizes" us into the Body of Christ the very second we are saved!

Immediately upon salvation, a Christian is "new" in Jesus!  This adjective, "kainos," means not necessarily new in time, but fresh!  Or unprecedented!  Or novel!  Or recently made!  Or even unworn!  Or unused!

In this very sense the NEW Testament is new!

One may be saved chronologically at the age of 36, but he does not again become a child physically when the miracle of salvation occurs!

Yet what does happen is this:  he becomes a newly created spiritual individual! His spirit, having just been re-born, is but a few seconds old!  And all things are seen as fresh and pristine and clean!

"Old" things are gone!   "Archaios" means "of old time!"  See in it the word archaeology.  Ancient!  Jesus, in Matthew 5:21, spoke of them "of old time," using this word.

Apparently when one is saved, some old things just wither and drop away!

To "pass away" (in Greek = "parerchomai") means "to go right beside" someone ... skirting them aside!

The verb "behold" just means "Look!" 

Paul is obviously filled with amazement and wonder!  I suspect he was thinking of his "Damascus Road" experience as he wrote.

"All things" (in Greek = "pas") means just what it says, "everything!"

And "are become" translates "ginomai" as a perfect active verb!  Things became new and stayed that way!  This is impossible physically ... but commonplace spiritually! 

Your Christian life and walk in the Spirit is just as fresh and exciting today as it was years ago when you first believed!  Glory to God!

Why?

Because we are new "creatures!"

Paul compares our very salvation to the creation account in Genesis chapter one! 

God created the world!

And the very same God created a new man or woman ... when he saved your soul!

That's why I do not know anyone just like I did in past years!  Formerly we may have known a man according to the flesh.  But, no more!  Not if he is "in Christ!"

He is a new man!

You are a new creature too!

And the new relationship spawned by God's saving grace is according to the Spirit, according to the things of God ... and not according to the old rules of the world in which we live!

Let's now put it all together:  "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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. 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. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Amen!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

GOD SURELY USED PAUL IN A MIGHTY WAY!

 

 

 

 

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