(2Co 4:17, 18)
GLORY IN THE
Hence arises his ambition to be accepted at the Lord's coming judgment.
Hence, too, his endeavor to deal openly with men, as with God, in
preaching; thus giving the Corinthians whereof to boast concerning him
against his adversaries. His constraining motive is the transforming
love of Christ, by whom God has wrought reconciliation between Himself
and men, and has committed to the apostle the ministry of
1. For--Assigning the reason for the statement
that affliction leads to exceeding glory.
if--For all shall not die; many shall be "changed" without
If this daily delivering unto death
should end in actual death.
earthly--not the same as earthy
It stands in contrast to "in the heavens."
house of this tabernacle--rather, "house of the tabernacle."
"House" expresses more permanency than belongs to the body;
therefore the qualification, "of the tabernacle" (implying that it is
shifting, not stationary), is added
2Pe 1:13, 14).
It thus answers to the tabernacle in the wilderness. Its wooden frame
and curtains wore out in course of time when Israel dwelt in Canaan,
and a fixed temple was substituted for it. The temple and the
tabernacle in all essentials were one; there was the same ark, the same
cloud of glory. Such is the relation between the "earthly" body and the
resurrection body. The Holy Spirit is enshrined in the believer's body
as in a sanctuary
As the ark went first in taking down the wilderness tabernacle, so the
soul (which like the ark is sprinkled with blood of atonement, and is
the sacred deposit in the inmost shrine,
in the dissolution of the body; next the coverings were removed,
answering to the flesh; lastly, the framework and boards, answering to
the bones, which are last to give way
Paul, as a tent-maker, uses an image taken from his trade
dissolved--a mild word for death, in the case of believers.
we have--in assured prospect of possession, as certain as if it
were in our hands, laid up "in the heavens" for us. The tense is
Joh 3:36; 6:47,
a building of God--rather "from God." A solid building, not a
temporary tabernacle or tent. "Our" body stands in contrast
to "from God." For though our present body be also from God, yet
it is not fresh and perfect from His hands, as our resurrection body
not made with hands--contrasted with houses erected by man's hands
So Christ's body is designated, as contrasted with the tabernacle
reared by Moses
This "house" can only be the resurrection body, in contrast to
the "earthly house of the tabernacle," our present body. The
intermediate state is not directly taken into account. A comma
should separate "eternal," and "in the heavens."
2. For in this--Greek, "For also in this"; "herein"
ALFORD takes it, "in this" tabernacle.
which seems parallel, favors this. But the parallelism is sufficiently
exact by making "in this we groan" refer generally to what was just
namely, that we cannot obtain our "house in the heavens" except our
"earthly tabernacle" be first dissolved by death.
under the body's weaknesses now and liability to death.
earnestly desiring to be clothed upon--translate, "earnestly
longing to have ourselves clothed upon," &c., namely, by
being found alive at Christ's coming, and so to escape
dissolution by death
(2Co 5:1, 4),
and to have our heavenly body put on over the earthly. The groans of
the saints prove the existence of the longing desire for the heavenly
glory, a desire which cannot be planted by God within us in vain, as
doomed to disappointment.
our house--different Greek from that in
translate, "our habitation," "our domicile"; it has a more distinct
reference to the inhabitant than the general term "house"
from heaven--This domicile is "from heaven" in its origin, and
is to be brought to us by the Lord at His coming again "from heaven"
Therefore this "habitation" or "domicile" is not heaven itself.
3. If so be, &c.--Our "desire" holds good, should the Lord's coming
find us alive. Translate, "If so be that having ourselves clothed (with
our natural body, compare
we shall not be found naked (stripped of our present body)."
being burdened: not for that--rather, "in that we desire not to have ourselves unclothed (of our present body), but clothed upon
(with our heavenly body).
that mortality, &c.--rather, "that what is mortal (our mortal part)
may be swallowed up of (absorbed and transformed into) life." Believers
shrink from, not the consequences, but the mere act of dying;
especially as believing in the possibility of their being found alive at
the Lord's coming
and so of having their mortal body absorbed into the immortal without
death. Faith does not divest us of all natural feeling, but
subordinates it to higher feeling. Scripture gives no sanction to the
contempt for the body expressed by philosophers.
5. wrought us--framed us by redemption, justification, and
for the selfsame thing--"unto" it; namely, unto what is mortal of us
being swallowed up in life
who also--The oldest manuscripts omit "also."
earnest of the Spirit--(See on
It is the Spirit (as "the first-fruits") who creates in us the groaning
desire for our coming deliverance and glory
6. Translate as Greek, "Being therefore always confident and
knowing," &c. He had intended to have made the verb to this nominative,
"we are willing" (rather, "well content"), but digressing on the word
(2Co 5:6, 7),
he resumes the word in a different form, namely, as an assertion: "We
are confident and well content." "Being confident . . . we
are confident" may be the Hebraic idiom of emphasis; as
Greek, "Having seen, I have seen," that is, I have surely
always--under all trials. BENGEL makes the contrast between "always confident" and "confident" especially at the prospect of being "absent
from the body." We are confident as well at all times, as also most
of all in the hope of a blessed departure.
whilst . . . at home . . . absent--Translate as Greek, "While we
sojourn in our home in the body, we are away from our home in
the Lord." The image from a "house" is retained (compare
Heb 11:13-16; 13:14).
7. we walk--in our Christian course here on earth.
not by sight--Greek, "not by appearance." Our life is governed
by faith in our immortal hope; not by the outward specious appearance of present
things [TITTMANN, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].
Compare "apparently," the Septuagint, "by appearance,"
WAHL supports English Version.
also confirms it (compare
1Co 13:12, 13).
God has appointed in this life faith for our great duty, and in
the next, vision for our reward [SOUTH]
8. willing--literally, "well content." Translate also, "To go
(literally, migrate) from our home in the body, and to come to our
home with the Lord." We should prefer to be found alive at the Lord's
coming, and to be clothed upon with our heavenly body
But feeling, as we do, the sojourn in the body to be a separation from
our true home "with the Lord," we prefer even dissolution by death, so
that in the intermediate disembodied state we may go to be "with the
"To be with Christ" (the disembodied state) is distinguished from
Christ's coming to take us to be with Him in soul and body
"with the Lord"). Perhaps the disembodied spirits of believers have
fulness of communion with Christ unseen; but not the mutual
recognition of one another, until clothed with their visible bodies at
the resurrection (compare
when they shall with joy recognize Christ's image in each other
9. Wherefore--with such a sure "confidence" of being blessed, whether
we die before, or be found alive at Christ's coming.
we labour--literally, "make it our ambition"; the only lawful
whether present or absent--whether we be found at His coming present
in the body, or absent from it.
10. appear--rather, "be made manifest," namely, in our true
character. So "appear," Greek, "be manifested"
We are at all times, even now, manifest to God; then we shall be
so to the assembled intelligent universe and to ourselves: for the
judgment shall be not only in order to assign the everlasting portion
to each, but to vindicate God's righteousness, so that it shall be
manifest to all His creatures, and even to the conscience of the sinner
receive--His reward of grace proportioned to "the things done," &c.
Though salvation be of grace purely, independent of works, the saved
may have a greater or less reward, according as he lives to, and
labors for, Christ more or less. Hence there is scope for the holy
"ambition" (see on
This verse guards against the Corinthians supposing that all
share in the house "from heaven"
(2Co 5:1, 2).
There shall be a searching judgment which shall sever the bad from the
good, according to their respective,deeds, the motive of the
deeds being taken into account, not the mere external act; faith and
love to God are the sole motives recognized by God as sound and good
(Mt 12:36, 37; 25:35-45),
done in his body--The Greek may be, "by the instrumentality of
the body"; but English Version is legitimate (compare Greek,
Justice requires that substantially the same body which has been
the instrument of the unbelievers' sin, should be the object of
punishment. A proof of the essential identity of the natural and the
11. terror of the Lord--the coming judgment, so full of terrors to
translate, "The fear of the Lord"
persuade--Ministers should use the terrors of the Lord to
persuade men, not to rouse their enmity
ALFORD explain: "Persuade men" (by our whole lives,
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
"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
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"
12. For--the reason why he leaves the manifestation of his sincerity
in preaching to their consciences
namely, his not wishing to "commend" himself again.