Jul 21, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:15 - William Styles

(2 Cor. 5:15), “He died for all,” words which, says A. Barnes, demonstrate that the atonement is general, and that the merits of Christ’s death have an original applicability to all men. They, however, admit of a different interpretation. St. Paul is addressing the Corinthians among whom his apostleship was questioned. Conscious of integrity, he appeals to the Judge of all hearts and notions, before whom he must finally appear, and he assures those to whom he wrote that he and his colleagues were—like all true Christians—actuated by the constraining love of the Redeemer. They felt that all the blessings of salvation were meritoriously attributable to Him. Formerly they all alike had been dead in trespasses and sins. Now they were the favoured participators of eternal life; which was His gift, who had redeemed them by His blood. Christ’s dying on their behalf proved their former condition to have been one of death, and gave Him the strongest right to their gratitude and service. Hence their devotion to Him. These considerations limit the latitude of the term “all,” to the recipients of spiritual life. The passage may be thus explained:— “Our labours in the cause of Christ are indeed great, but His love in giving Himself a sacrifice for us constrains us. For we gratefully remember that since nothing short of His agonizing death could have effected the sacrifice of any one of us—whether Jews or Gentiles, and whatever our moral or social standing may have been—all of us alike without distinction, were legally and spiritually dead. We judge, therefore, that since all of us are saved by His death, now that we are, through His grace, alive unto God, we should not live unto ourselves, but to promote the cause of our dying and risen Lord.” The “all,” therefore, refers to regenerated persons only, and does not imply a universal atonement.

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