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Reposting in light of Resurrection Sunday tomorrow. May every believer grasp what is theirs in Christ Jesus because of His resurrection!

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

All that [Christ] accomplished for us in our human nature is, through union with him, true for us and, in a sense, of us. He died to sin once; he lives to God (6:10). He came under the dominion of sin in death, but death could not master him. He rose and broke the power of both sin and death. Now He lives forever in the resurrection life of God. The same is as true of us as if we had been with him on the cross, in the tomb and on the resurrection morning!

We miss the radical nature of Paul’s teaching here to our great loss. So startling is it that we need to find a startling manner of expressing it. For what Paul is saying is that sanctification means this: in relationship both to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past. The basic frame work of my new existence in Christ is that I have become a “dead man brought to life” and must think of myself in those terms: dead to sin and alive to God in union with Jesus Christ our Lord.

~Sinclair B. Ferguson, Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, p. 57

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For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. (2 Corinthians 13:4)

Paul knew the Savior he followed. In human eyes, there was nothing powerful about this Savior. He came to earth and let Himself be executed by the most humiliating way possible. According to human standards, Jesus is weak.

Yet, Paul knew the rest of the story. Divine power reversed the execution of the Beloved Son. The power of God broken the very reign of death which had been sentenced on humans. Christ arose from the dead by a power that was unstoppable yet unnoticed by the wisest men of this world.

And so with ministry,

When our ministry is identified with Christ in its purpose, authority, and methods we enter into the weakness of Christ. “we also are weak in him.” We are not powerful according to worldly standards.  Instead, there is a disarmament  of any human ability and strength. We are striped of any human power and prestige, as the one our ministry testifies too was striped of any dignity and prestige. A crucified ministry should show strength, power, prestige as much as a real crucifixion should.

Yet, when our ministry is at a lost of all human power because of it identity in our crucified savior another power comes into play. A power that ushered in the eschatological age by destroying the bonds of death itself. The power of the resurrected Savior.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

With the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has already set the future inexorably in motion;

The fact that the future has already begun with the coming of God himself (through Christ and the Spirit) means two crucial things for Paul: that the consummation is absolutely guaranteed, and that present existence is therefore altogether determined by this reality. That is, one’s life in the present is not conditioned or determined by present exigencies, but by the singular reality that God’s people belong to the future that has already come present. Marked by Christ’s death and resurrection and identified as God’s people by the gift of the Spirit, they live the life of the future in the present, determined by its values and perspective, no matter what their present circumstances.

~Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter To The Philippians, p. 50-51

This is the fourth and final section of my paper. You can find the other sections here: part 1, part 2, and part 3. You can read it in full here.

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An astounding exchange of merits is granted by grace! When one is granted the faith to believe in Christ, the benefits of this work becomes theirs. As in the pattern of Abraham, their faith is counted as righteous (Rom 4:22). The obedience of Christ becomes theirs, His propitiation is done for them, and the satisfaction He accomplished is theirs. The sinner has transgressed the law; the Son did not. The sinner deserves the condemnation for disobedience; the Righteous Son did not. The sinner deserves the curse of death to fall upon him; the Son is only worthy of eternal life. Yet, the blessed Christ was condemned to die the death of one who transgressed the law. That was the divine transaction happening at the cross, which was an exchange of astounding magnitude! The very righteous obedience of the Son is given to the transgressing sinner. The same righteousness that will vindicate the Son to be resurrected is given to the sinner by faith.

Thus, with the resurrection the sinner receives the vindication of a righteous standing before God.[1] Christ “rose again as their head and representative, and was legally discharged, acquitted, and justified, and they in him.”[2] The sinner should be left in the grave in condemnation, but because he has been granted the righteousness of the Holy One, he receives the same vindication.[3] Because the believer is hidden in Christ by means of union, Christ’s resurrection is a declaration of his righteous standing in Christ. The resurrection announces that believers are justified.[4] The justification which was granted by the cross in the transfer of sin and righteousness is secured by the resurrection.[5] Our vindication is a “testification” of being counted righteous.[6] The Son was righteous and so was raised, and so we, being righteous in Him, were raised with Him in His resurrection. Thus, the confirmation of our justified standing in the sight of God is our state of being raised with Christ in His resurrection.[7]

True faith is believing in the God who rose His Son from the dead. In His resurrection Jesus justified those who believed in this God. He justified them because the Spirit united them to his justification by His resurrection. Thus, because of the resurrection of Christ those who believe in Jesus are secure in their redemption. Their justification is secured by the vindicating act of God in resurrecting Jesus.

Conclusion

We have seen 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 3:25 trace out how Christ’s justification by His resurrection becomes our justification. The Spirit justified Christ by overturning the unjust condemnation of men. Men wrongly condemned Him to death; the Spirit raised Him to life in righteousness. Now, by the mysterious work of union with Christ, Christ’s justification is the believer’s justification. Since the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer the righteous declaration of Christ becomes the believer’s. The believer’s possession of Christ’s righteousness is guaranteed by the reality that Christ rose again by the Spirit, for the believer has been justified through that resurrection.


[1]“Just as our sin brought Christ’s condemnation and death, so his resurrection announces our justification.” Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness, 47

[2]John Gill, An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, in The Newport Commentary Series (Springfield, MO: Particular Baptist Press, 2002), 129. Also from Jonathan Edwards, “he was not acquitted as a private person, but as our head, and believers are acquitted in his acquittance; nor was he accepted to a reward for his obedience as a private person, but as our head, and we are accepted to a reward in his acceptance. The Scripture teaches us, that when Christ was raised from the dead, he was justified;” Jonathan Edwards, “Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738”, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. M. X. Lesser, vol. 19  (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 191.

[3]“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).” “The abolition of condemnation is the essence of legal justification, which issues from the believer’s new situation in Christ.” Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation, Foundations of Evangelical Theology ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1997), 337.

[4]Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness, 47.

[5]This is where Michael Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God, 76-77 errors when he see no imputed righteousness given to believers. Bird sees the resurrection as the sole aspect of our justification. Yet, as Rom 5:9 clearly points out, the cross is part of out justification as well. The best way to understand how the two relate is that what was given at the cross is declared secured by the resurrection.

[6]Gill, Romans, 129.

[7]Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 167; Schreiner, Romans, 235.

This is part three of the paper. Here you can find Part 1 and Part 2.

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Romans 4:25

We will now explore how Christ’s vindication or justification by the Spirit is the believers’ justification by God. Because of the believer’s union with Christ they are indentified with the risen one; all that is His becomes theirs; His was the vindication by the Spirit. Therefore, they are also vindicated or justified by the Spirit by being raised with Christ.

Romans 4:25 states that Jesus Christ was “delivered up for our trespasses (παρεδόθη διὰ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν) and raised for our justification (ἠγέρθη διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν).”[1] The phrase is identified as a pre-Pauline statement[2] which is a christological interpretation of Isaiah 53:12.[3] The flow of the chapter is at the end of a discourse by Paul on the faith of Abraham.

Paul explores the quality of the faith of Abraham in verses 16-22.[4] He is building on the point that the promise made to Abraham came, not by the law, but by faith (v13). Thus, he is establishing the truth that the promise transcends ethnic boundaries.[5] It is by faith that the promise is granted; and this faith is not an abstract faith; it was a God-centered confidence.[6] Abraham’s faith was in God’s resurrecting power.[7] It was this faith which made him to be counted righteous (v22).[8] Then Paul turns to the readers and makes present-day application from Abraham’s faith. “Paul understands the work of God in Christ as an out working of the word of God to Abraham….the work of God in Christ brings the promise that created Abraham’s faith to fulfillment.”[9] Now, a child of Abraham puts faith, in likeness of Abraham, into Jesus Christ who was resurrected by the God of Abraham. Jesus, then, died for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Faith in the God who resurrects Christ grants the believer the righteousness obtained by the sacrifice of Christ. His resurrection becomes justifying to them because of the union they have with Jesus by faith. The righteousness which Christ possessed becomes theirs so that they, the unrighteous, partake in the righteous rendering of the resurrection of Christ.

Christ’s death procured for us the justifying righteousness of God (5:9).[10] We were under the just condemnation of the law of a holy God with no hope of justifying ourselves (Rom 3:19-20). In our stead, Christ offered himself as a propitiation of our sins. Christ, by His death on the cross, satisfied God’s holy demands (Rom 3:25). Christ was the holy one who perfectly fulfilled the laws demands and so offered Himself as the satisfaction in the sinners’ place (Rom 3:25, 5:18-19). However, on the third day true justice was established again. The Spirit vindicated the Righteous Son by raising Him from the dead (1 Tim 3:16). He was treated in the sinners’ place, but God did not let His Holy One see corruption (Ps. 16:10). God declared that indeed Jesus was just, that He was the Christ.


[1]There is debate on the usage of διὰ. It is used twice in the verse as the preposition to each phrase. There is nearly universal agreement that the first usage is causal meaning, “because of.” But such a usage is strange if understood in the clause we are looking at as pointed out by Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God, 76-77. Thus a “final” usage should be seen; he was raise “for our justification.” See Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 252; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 289; Robertson, Epistles of Paul, 354; Morna D. Hooker, “Raised for our Acquittal (Rom 4,25)” in Resurrection in the New Testament, ed. R. Bieringer, V. Koperski, and B. Lataire (Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 2002), 323. Schreiner, Romans, 235, will say that the second usage of διὰ can be understood causally

[2]C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, The International Critical Commentary, ed. J. A. Emerton and C. E. B. Cranfield (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1975), 251. Also see Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 288, who makes the point that Paul “has fully integrated the elements of the tradition into his exposition.”

[3]W. Zimmerli and J. Jeremias, Servant of God (Naperville, Ill: Alec R. Allenson, 1957), 89.

[4]Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 235.

[5]“being ethnically Jewish is insufficient; one must follow Abraham’s faith. Conversely, Abraham is also the father of uncircumcised believers.” Mark A Seifrid, “Romans” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, eds. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 626.

[6]Schreiner, Romans, 235.

[7]Ibid., 236. See also Seifrid, “Romans,” 627.

[8]Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 250. See also Schreiner, Romans, 239.

[9]Seifrid, “Romans,” 627

[10]Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 310; Schreiner, Romans, 263.

 

This is part 2 of this paper. The first part can be read here.

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1 Timothy 3:16

In 1 Timothy 3:16 we will see that the Holy Spirit vindicated Christ by raising Him from the dead. The nature of this vindication is forensic in its action. The forensic work was the act of raising Christ from the grave in light of his unjust condemnation.

1 Timothy 3:16 is in a hymn or creed[1] which was used by the early church. The focus of the hymn is Christ, the mystery of godliness (τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον) spoken of in verse 15. The hymn is a theological and salvation-historical explanation of Christ.[2]

There is much debate about the structure of the hymn.[3] Since we are not clear on how the readers of the letter would have understood the structure of the hymn, we do not have absolute certainty about its exact structure. The debated understandings of the structure, however, do not present any conflict with the interpretation proposed by this paper.[4] Thus, this discussion will be passed by and the interpretation of the verse will be discussed.

The single line which this paper wants to expound upon is the second one in the construction: “vindicated (or justified) by the Spirit” (ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι). Let us look at the phrase “by the Spirit” (ἐν πνεύματι) first, then, we will see what is meant by the term “vindicated” (ἐδικαιώθη).

Debate ensues on the meaning of ἐν πνεύματι. Does it mean, “by the Spirit,”[5] or “in the spirit,”[6] or “in the Spirit”?[7] When it comes to the identity of πνεύματι (either being spirit, or of the Holy Spirit), Knight makes a good observation that the very next usage of πνεῦμα in 4:1 is without qualification and undoubtedly refers to the Holy Spirit.[8] Thus, it is best to see the identity of πνεύματι in 3:16 as being the Holy Spirit.[9]

With that being the case, should we read ἐν as expressing agency or location? Does vindication happen “by” or “in” the Spirit? Even though context would favor understanding it as locative (all other usages of ἐν in the verse are locative): it is best to see vindication has happening “by” the Spirit. The reason being is that it makes no sense to say that Christ was vindicated in the Holy Spirit in the same sense as all the other locations listed. What would that location be? How is there a location, as in the other sense of ἐν, in the Holy Spirit?[10] Thus, the best way to read this phrase is that Christ was vindicated by the Spirit.[11]

What was the act of this vindication which was done by the agency of the Holy Spirit? Parallels with Roman texts strongly point to the resurrection as being the means by which the Spirit vindicated Christ.[12] Romans 1:4 speaks of Jesus being “declared to be the Son of God…according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” Romans 8:11 testifies that Spirit raised Jesus from the dead: “The resurrection of Christ is the Spirit’s work…the Spirit raised Christ so that he would be exalted and glorified.”[13] Such parallels strongly attest to seeing the phrase in view as speaking to the same thing.[14]

The nature of the vindication needs to be discussed. The hymn uses an aorist passive rendering of the word δικαιόω, which is translated either “justified” or “vindicated” in all translations.[15] Christ was vindicated or shown to be right[16] by the Spirit through His resurrection. This vindication would most certainly be tied with Jesus’ claim of being the Messiah. “The resurrection ‘vindicated’…the claims that Christ had made during his lifetime.”[17] Also, “His claim to be Christ was demonstrated and validated by the resurrection.”[18] Thus, Christ’s witness concerning Himself was vindicated by the Spirit in resurrecting Him.

Yet, the vindication needed did not stop with Christ’s claims about Himself during His life. Christ’s life cannot be separated from His death. It was not only that the people ignored Christ’s claims to be the Messiah. The vindication needed is not only about dignity and correcting error. They heard the claims He was making and killed Him for them. It should be pointed out that the cross should not be forgotten in this vindication. Thus, along with Christ’s claims during his life being vindicated, one should also see a forensic aspect to the vindication.[19] Jesus was legally sentenced to a criminal’s death by means of crucifixion for his claims.

The reality of the crucifixion permeates the need for a forensic vindication, for the culminating point of Jesus’ ministry to the people of Israel was their crucifixion of Him. Man heard Christ’s claim of Messiahship—and killed Him;[20] that was their judicial rendering on the validity of His claims. However, the Spirit had a different rendering in light of the evidence! He overturned the unjust rulings of evil man by raising Jesus from the dead. A forensic dimension has to be understood in the usage of δικαιόω here. Thus, the Spirit vindicated or justified Christ by resurrecting Him.

According to what we read in 1 Timothy 3:16, Jesus Christ was vindicated and justified by the Holy Spirit by His resurrection. He was declared right in the sight of the Father because His testimony concerning Himself was true. The Spirit fulfilled one of His parts in redemptive history by making Jesus conquer the grave over against the unjust acts of man. In doing so, the Spirit proved to the world that Jesus was indeed who he claimed to be.


[1]“One may debate whether the statement is more like a creed or more like a hymn, but absolute certainty seems elusive.” George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992), 183. For purposes of ease it will be referred to as a hymn from now on. Though, this does not mean that this paper is taking the position that it is a hymn.

[2]I. Howard Marshall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Pastoral Epistles, The International Critical Commentary, ed. J. A. Emerton and C. E. B. Cranfield (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1999), 499.

[3]For a helpful overview see Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles, 183-184.

[4]Cf. William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary, vol 40. ed. David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Waco, TX: Word Book, 2000), 216-18. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles, 183-184

[5]ESV, NET, NIV, NLT.

[6]ASV, NRSV (they remove the article).

[7]HCSB, NKJV, RSV, NASB95.

[8]Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles, 185.

[9]Contra Marshall, The Pastoral Epistles, 526 and A. T. Robertson, Epistles of Paul, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 4 (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1931), 577.

[10]Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 766, would say that Christ was vindicated in the spirit. Meaning that, the location of the vindication is not in the Holy Spirit but in a spiritual realm of existence. This realm was entered into by Christ when He resurrected. But the verse does not say he was vindicated, “to enter into” but, “in” or “by.” His interpretation does not work with the words.

[11]See also Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles, 185.

[12]Ibid., 184-185.

[13]Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 487.

[14]See also Marshall, The Pastoral Epistles, 525.

[15]ASV, ESV, HCSB, NKJV, NET, NIV, NRSV, RSV, NLT, NASB95.

[16]Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1996, c1989), S. 1:743.

[17]Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 227.

[18]Gerhard Kittel and Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), S. 2:214-215. Cf. also Marshall, The Pastoral Epistles, 525; Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles, 184.

However, all the above authors stop with just saying that the vindication is about the life of Christ. No forensic aspect with the death of Christ as part of the vindication is stated.

[19]For good argument for the forensic aspect see Michael Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 53-54.

[20]“Paul identifies Christ with the revealed ‘righteousness of God’ to which Israel refused to submit.” Mark A. Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification, vol. 9 in New Studies in Biblical Theology ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 47.

Here is part 1 of this paper. The rest will follow in the coming weeks. The paper can be read in full here.

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Justified by the Resurrection of Christ:

Justification and Resurrection in 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 4:25

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Introduction

The resurrection is the pivotal movement for Christianity. Without it our faith is foolishness and our merit is pity (1 Cor. 15:19), but because of it, our hope of final redemption and victory is sealed.

This paper will look into one of the glorious, salvific aspects of the resurrection. We will see that the Spirit’s justification of Christ by His resurrection becomes our justification by means of our union with Christ. We will do this by tracing this line of thought through 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 3:25. First, we will give a brief look into the nature of union with Christ to show how this paper understands the doctrine. Second we will look at the individual texts of 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 3:25 to see how they upholds this thesis.

Body

This paper will argue the presented thesis by looking initially at what it means to be united to Christ, then at the interpretation of two main texts. First, the nature of union with Christ will be briefly explained to give an over-arching lens for the thesis. Second, 1 Timothy 3:16 will be looked at to see what it tells about Christ’s justification by the resurrection. Third and finally, Romans 4:25 will be looked at to see how Christ’s justification affects us

Union with Christ

Union with Christ is a term which embraces all aspects of soteriology into one act whereby the believer is united to Christ. John Murray observes, “Indeed the whole process of salvation has its origin in one phase of union with Christ and salvation has in view the realization of other phases of union.”[1] Union with Christ can be defined as  having all the salvific works and benefits of Christ identified with the believers due to their identification with Christ. “To be ‘in Christ’ means to share in all that Christ has accomplished…those who are united to the risen Christ share in his justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification.”[2] John Calvin explains why this doctrine should have such preeminence: “As long as there is separation between Christ and us, all that he suffered and preformed for the salvation of mankind is useless and unavailing to us.”[3]

Biblical support for this understanding is in the “in Christ” terminology used by Paul as well as the biblical concept of fallen humanity being in Adam. “One cannot do something for or with Christ unless one is first en Christo.[4] Though Paul’s usage of the term, “en Christo,” is not monolithic[5], it does speak to our participation and identity in Christ;[6] the believer’s identity is now in Christ. This is in contrast to the next line of support where the Bible says fallen humanity is in Adam (Rom 5:12-22). Before one is in Christ he is in Adam. When one is “in Adam,” he receives all that was obtained by Adam’s representation of him in the Garden.[7] So, in contrast, to be in Christ is to obtain all that was won by Christ.

One of the facets of this union is our participation in Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is the believer’s resurrection. The Apostle exclaims that we were raised with Christ (Col 3:1). What was won by His resurrection is now ours by this union. Thus, when Christ was justified by His resurrection so, too, were we justified. Through 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 4:25 we see the biblical tracing and explanation of this truth.


[1]John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 161.

[2]Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, in Contours of Christian Theology, ed. Gerald Bray (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 106.

[3]John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. John Allen, vol 1, 6th ed.  (Philadelphia, PN: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1902),  III.i.484.

[4]B. Witherington III, “Christ,” “The En Christo formlua,’” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 624.

[5]For a thorough view of the different usages see Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 1st ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 840-847.

[6]Speaking of the phrase, “in Christ/in the Lord” Dunn states, “Paul’s perception of his whole life as a Christian, its source, its identity, and its responsibilities, could be summed up in these phrases.” James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 399. Also cf. Ridderbos comments on the phrase, “[being ‘in Christ’ speaks] of an abiding reality determinative for the whole of the Christian life, to which appeal can be made at all times…[it has to do] with the church’s ‘objective’ state of salvation.” Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, trans. John Richard De Witt (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 59. Cf. also Peter T. O’Brien, “Mysticism,” “Being ‘in Christ,’” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 624.

[7]Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, 109.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

All that [Christ] accomplished for us in our human nature is, through union with him, true for us and, in a sense, of us. He died to sin once; he lives to God (6:10). He came under the dominion of sin in death, but death could not master him. He rose and broke the power of both sin and death. Now He lives forever in the resurrection life of God. The same is as true of us as if we had been with him on the cross, in the tomb and on the resurrection morning!

We miss the radical nature of Paul’s teaching here to our great loss. So startling is it that we need to find a startling manner of expressing it. For what Paul is saying is that sanctification means this: in relationship both to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past. The basic frame work of my new existence in Christ is that I have become a “dead man brought to life” and must think of myself in those terms: dead to sin and alive to God in union with Jesus Christ our Lord.

~Sinclair B. Ferguson, Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, p. 57

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I journey forth rejoicing
From this dark vale of tears,
To heavenly joy and freedom,
From earthly bonds and fears;
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

Why thus so sadly weeping,
Beloved ones of my heart?
The Lord is good and gracious,
Though now He bids us part.
Oft have we met in gladness.
And we shall meet again,
All sorrow left behind us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

I go to see His glory,
Whom we have loved below:
I go, the blessed angels,
The holy saints to know.
Our lovely ones departed,
I go to find again,
And wait for you to join us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

I hear the Saviour calling,
The joyful hour has come:
The angel guards are ready
To guide me to our home,
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

HT: Challies

This is a paper that I wrote for my 2 Corinthians class. The reasons that I will post some of my own work for classes are two fold: 1. My writing needs to be critique and challenged. I will never become a better writer, arguer, and thinker if people don’t question my reasoning and point out my errors in writing. So please, if you read these let me know where you disagree with me with precision, not just a  general “I don’t like.” Let me know what you don’t like and why you don’t like it. This would be a help to me to interact with you and hopefully sharpen both of our thinking. 2. Because what things I do study need to be passed on to aid others. Not that I have a lot of deep, spiritual things to say. But I want to aid in pointing people to Christ in any way I can. So enjoy!

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2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Introduction

The Apostle Paul’s aim was to be a faithful witness of the gospel among the Gentiles. Yet, he was not what the Greeks would consider an astounding speaker. One could even say that he was the opposite of a good Greek speaker. Yet, he was faithful in spreading the gospel amongst Gentile cities. One of which was Corinth. But after some time false teachers had crept in and were trying to turn the Corinthians’ hearts away from Paul by claiming that he was not a true Apostle. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in attempt to win their hearts back.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 we see one among many appeals Paul made to the Corinthians in the book. The appeal which Paul makes in theses verses is that his ministry, as an Apostle, is not discredited because of his weak appearance. Paul had a hope that even though his ministry had taken such a toll on his body, he had a future resurrection that he was going to partake of. And such a hope gave him courage to press on in faithful ministry.

Body

This paper will argue that the above statement is communicated through 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. This will be done by looking at the context in which the section of 2 Corinthians is placed. Then it will be established by looking at individual aspects of the section. Verses 1-5 will show that Paul is talking about a resurrection which he is looking forward too. Verses 6-10 will communicate the courage for ministry which he received from the hope of the resurrection.

Context

Let us look back at the surrounding context to get the full picture. In chapter 4 verse 7 Paul begins by contrasting the treasure of the message found in verses 4-6 of the same chapter to the frailty of the minister, “We have this treasure (the ministry) in jars of clay (the minister, i.e. himself)” (4:7). What follows in verses 8-15 are the afflictions which Paul experienced in his ministry. While the message that he carried was glorious, the trials that the ministry put him through were anything but glorious.[1] Yet in verses 13-15 Paul keeps proclaiming the message which he had believed in.

In verse 16 Paul starts off by referring back to something previous which he had said. There is disagreement about the reference for “Διὸ”. [2] I believe, however, that Paul is referring back to verse 14 where he states his hope in the future resurrection.[3] We should see Verse 15 as part of the resurrection hope expressed in verse 14.[4] For in this verse Paul expressed certainty that the Corinthians would be in the presence of God. For he had suffered the affliction listed in verses 8-12 so that the grace[5] of the Spirit’s work of unveiling eyes could be given to them. They then believed in this message of grace delivered to them. Thus, verse 16 goes back to the hope of the resurrection which Paul expressed in 14.

Yet a sharp distinction between the resurrection and the ministry at Corinth should not be made.[6] Paul’s sacrifice had given which made him look forward to the resurrection was the sufferings for the Corinthians. Even though Paul has gone through tribulations, the ministry was being accomplished. The Corinthians came to accept the gospel.  Paul had completed this ministry of unveiling eyes to the glory of the Lord (3:1-18) among the Corinthians. He had seen the gospel do its work in their very lives. He sold himself out for them. All the afflictions listed through this section was all for their sakes (15a). He poured himself out so that they could be recipients and benefactors of this veil removing ministry and He knows that they will be present with him at the resurrection of Christ.

Now Paul shifts from speaking about his ministry to his weakness of appearance. He had made this sacrifice of ministry even though it has taken a toll on His body.[7] The key to understanding what is going on in this context is found in 5:12. There Paul makes the comment about “those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” “His deteriorating physical condition and shameful plight caused some in Corinth…to wonder out loud about his power as an apostle.”[8] The false teachers were attacking Paul on the grounds that He was weak in appearance[9] and “a minister of a covenant more glorious than Moses’ covenant could be expected to be a glorious figure.”[10] Garland points out another issue as well when he states, “Some in the ancient world interpreted affliction as a sign of god’s judgment and as something dishonorable.”[11] Whatever the specific reason was, the false apostles were attacking Paul about his appearance. Apparently the Corinthians were beginning let these charges get to them. Could they really trust a person that had such a weak appearance?

Paul, however, knew the truth about this world. Physical decay and abuse are not reasons to doubt one’s ministry. “On the contrary”, the abuse of his body in the present is in no comparison to the glory which he will receive. Paul says that he knows that the afflictions of this age are preparing him for a coming glory which cannot be compared to anything on this earth (4:17). So, Paul keeps his vision located on the future where eternal things reside (18).[12]

That is the context of 5:1-10. Paul is expounding to the Corinthians that his physical well being is not that important. He has given himself for their spiritual welling being. And the physical cost of it will be repaid when he dies. So, in 5:1-10 Paul is expounding on way the decay of his physical body is of little concern to him.

Verses 1-5

Verses 1-5 are about a future dwelling with the Lord when one dies. Paul expounds upon the statement that the gaze of the Christian should be on what is eternal. What is found in these verses is Paul looking ahead to the resurrection which he had talked about in his first letter to the Corinthians. Here he expounds on the future resurrection again but in somewhat different language. But the thoughts are the same. “The groaning and burden associated with the present body will give way to the stability and delight of being clothed with a new body.”[13]

To see this meaning we have to look at the parallel passage in 1 Corinthians. Then the text itself has to be studied. But, before we look at that; an issue regarding the eschatology of Paul needs to be considered.

Did Paul change his view of the time of his death and the coming of Christ? Harris would argue that Paul had an encounter with death while he was in Asia. And this encounter changed his understanding of his death and the coming of Christ. Before this, Paul would see himself living until the coming of Christ. But because of this brush with death Paul recognized that he was not going to survive until the coming of Christ. Paul is then expressing that change of belief in this passage.[14]

I believe an important general note can be brought up to help answer this question. Paul is not writing out a systematic theology on eschatology. He has a point to make to the Corinthians and against the false teachers. Penna is correct when he writes,

“The mistake of the commentators has perhaps been to try to be clearer than Paul himself…Paul does not offer dogmatic solutions but rather offers only certain suggestions, opens up certain ways of looking at the at it, confirms or excludes certain perspectives typical of the Christian faith.”[15]

We have to be careful that we are not trying to find more than what the Biblical writers were saying in what they wrote. Paul is not writing a dissertation on the end times but making a specific point by using some truths of the eschatos.

Since that is the case a strong point can be made against the idea that Paul is changing his mind about the coming of Christ. Schreiner articulates the point precisely, “This text [2 Cor. 5:1-10], however, is too ambiguous to signal such a change. Since Paul addresses the same church, he would have needed to make it much clearer that he was proposing a different time for the resurrection.”[16] So, there is not enough evidence presented in this text which should make us think that Paul is changing mind about the coming of Christ.

We have then established the fact that there is not enough to support the idea that Paul was changing his mind about the second coming of Christ in 2 Cor. 5:1-10. We can now study the individual aspects of the text to see that it, indeed, points to Paul’s hope in the future resurrection.

Let us look, first, at the parallel passage to this one in 1 Corinthians 15:35-57. There Paul discusses the resurrection from the dead as well. Paul talks about “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” (1 Cor. 15:42b). Regarding the body Paul refers to it as dying in “weakness”, “natural”, and “from earth” from verse 42-47. Also, Garland points out the correlating use of clothing terminology, of the term “perishable”, and the endings between these two passages.[17] Both talk about being clothed when the believer dies. Both speak about the body as perishing. And both end the section alluding to the same very, Isaiah 25:8. “This parallel with [1 Corinthians 15] opens the way to a true understanding of the contrast in 5:1-4 between the present body and the future one.”[18] Therefore, since there is a parallel of themes and terms used between 1 Corinthians 15:35-57 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 we should understand the main topic to be the same—namely resurrection.

With that correlation in mind we can look at the language Paul is using to see that he is talking about a future resurrection. What we have now is a ἡ ἐπίγειος οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους, “an earthly tent-dwelling.”[19] The τοῦ σκήνους should be taken as an epexegetical genitive[20] which explains the meaning of the word it is attributed to. When our temporary structure will be torn down (καταλυθῇ) we have a οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν,[21] οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, “a building from God, a dwelling not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens.” For this eternal dwelling we grown (στενάζομεν), longing to put it on.

Following the context of the pervious verse Paul is obviously talking about the eternal things which He looks to. And there is a clear contrast going on through these passages. But what is Paul talking about when he says we are in a ἡ ἐπίγειος οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους, and looking forward to a οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν, οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς?

Looking at the terms Paul used we can see the resurrection being describe. The first term that he employs is a “tent” (οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους).  Our present bodies are like a tent. A tent “is a common picture of the earthly life and its setting in the body.”[22] Using the tent imagery, “describes only the instability, and thus the vulnerability, of one’s mortal existence.”[23] Most commentators would also point to the use of the term in Wisdom 9:15 as referring to a body. This view also fits the context from 4:16-18 where Paul has been giving a contrast of the earthly and the eternal. Understanding the term to denote a human body fits very well here.[24]

Then, opposed to this weak tent, the believer will receive an eternal dwelling. There have been many proposals to what the term οἰκοδομὴν means here. Thrall lists nine different understandings of this term: 1) An individual resurrection body. 2) A heavenly habitation in the sense of the dwelling mentioned in John 14:2. 3) An interim heavenly body, received immediately after death. 4) A kind of spiritual garment, received in baptism, worn beneath the ‘garment’ of the material body and preserved beyond the grave. 5) The body of Christ. 6) The heavenly temple. 7) The resurrection body of Christ. 8 ) An image of the glory of the eschatological age. 9) The heavenly dimension of present existence.[25] Yet, the most agreed upon immediate meaning would be the spiritual body one would receive at the resurrection.[26] Harris states the point clearly, “in view of 4:16a, it seems incontestable that the ἐπίγειος οἰκία of 5:1a alludes primarily, if not solely, to the physical body and that therefore it would destroy the parallelism and opposition of the two parts of 5:1,”[27] Thus, while the body that Paul possesses now will be destroyed, an eternal body is waiting for Him in the future. [28]

The final question we have to ask is concerning the meaning of the word “γυμνοὶ” in verse 3. The verse begins be stating that by putting on[29] this heavenly dwelling we may not be found “naked”. So the meaning of “naked” has direct influence on the understanding of the previous terms.

There are three main understandings of this term.[30] It is either understood as “homeless,” “garmentless,” or “bodiless.” The understanding of “homeless” is to use architectural language which matches the terms “tent” and “building” in verses 1-2. But this understanding can be dismissed due to the fact that the word does not carry such a meaning.[31]

The term “garment” would be used to covey a moral view. Meaning, Paul does not want to be found being guilty of sin before God.[32] Two problems become apparent with this suggestion,  however. The first is that moral judgment is not in the immediate context. We do not see judgment until verse 10. So, where it could be a possibility, it should not be our first choice since the theme of mortal judgment is not found in the immediate context. The second problem is that the correlating word used in verse 4, ἐκδύσασθαι, is unquestionably referring to resurrection.[33] Because when one is clothed, the mortal (τὸ θνητὸν) is swallowed up by life (τῆς ζωῆς). And such language conveys a resurrection, not a moral standing.

Thus, the “bodiless” understanding is the best.[34] It fits with the over all context of resurrection. It, also, fits with the specific terms Paul uses in this section. Thus Paul is saying that by putting on this heavenly dwelling he will not be found in a bodiless state. [35] So, Paul is looking forward to the day when he will receive his resurrection body.

So after looking through this section we see Paul, speaking in the language of buildings and clothing to describe the future resurrection that awaits him. When Paul says that he is presently living in a ἡ ἐπίγειος οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους we understand him saying that he lives in a fragile body. Yet he knows that when the tent is destroyed he will posses a οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ which is a future resurrected body. And because he knows he will posses it there is no fear that he will be γυμνοὶ, or bodiless.

Therefore, though some may consider a battered and bruised body something to be ashamed of, Paul sees it differently. A battered and bruised body is only temporal. What Paul looks forward is a heavenly dwelling that will clothe him for eternity.

Verse 6-10

Because of the future hope that is before him Paul can make it his aim to be pleasing to God. In verses 6-10 Paul expresses the courage which he has because of this promise and what he is working towards before he reaches that hope. In other words, he can give himself to gospel ministry because of this future hope. This section will argue that Paul sees the future hope as a base for the courage to do his ministry.

Paul has a courage to accomplish the ministry which streams from the faith on the guarantee of the Spirit. The οὖν of verse 1 looks back to the preceding guarantee of the future resurrection which is given by the Spirit.[36] The perfect participle εἰδότες is casual in its function.[37] The truth that Paul is still in this body and not with the Lord is another reason for the courage.  Thus, there is the promise that supplies the courage and the task that demands the courage. For in verse 7 Paul expresses having faith in the promises of God and not on what he sees. Then Paul illiterates again in verse 8 about the courage which he has while expressing his desire to be with the Lord.[38] Paul can face the afflictions upon his body by the ministry because he is “confident that God will supply a superior replacement for [his body].”[39] Thus, courage fills Paul as he performs his calling as an apostle.

Paul’s courage is directed at the single aim to be well pleasing to Christ so that he could stand confidently before the judgment seat of Christ. Whether Paul was ἐνδημοῦντες or ἐκδημοῦντες Paul sought to be pleasing in his actions. For him, “what is alone important is whether one’s service as an apostle is finally judged acceptable to the Lord.”[40] This is completely contrary to the critics who would try to discount him based on weak appearance. For Paul, what ultimately mattered was God’s view of his ministry, not man’s.[41] Because it would be before Christ’s judgment seat where the deeds done in the body would be judged as to whether they were good or bad.

One must ask about the nature of the judgment being described here. Every Christian will have to stand before this judgment seat. The verdict of this seat will render to everyone what they have done in the body. So, will salvation or rewards be rendered at this judgment? Harris argues that “the tribunal of Christ is concerned with the assessment of works not the determination of destiny.”[42] Thus, “not status but reward is determined”[43] by this judgment seat.

Yet, other would see the judgment seat determining more than the distribution of rewards or loss of rewards. “The reward in these texts is eternal life itself.”[44] Thus, when standing before the judgment seat of Christ, one’s eternal destiny is at stake.

Two factors tip the scales towards understanding the judgment seat as eternally significant. The first is that when Paul speaks of God’s coming judgment it has eternal significance. At God’s righteous judgment He will render to each man according to his work, and he renders eternal life or wrath and fury (Rom. 2 5-8). We cannot be fully judged by human courts, but the Lord judges us. The Lord will bring every thing to light and each one will receive his commendation from God (1 Cor. 4:3-5). The second reason is that Paul more than likely has the false teachers in view when he writes this verse. The false teachers “advertise themselves as people who do good works and claim to be ‘servants of righteousness’ (2 Cor. 11:15), but all of this is subterfuge. The good works are lacking, ‘and their end shall be according to their works.’”[45] Therefore, when believers stand before the judgment seat of Christ they approach for the determination of their destiny.

How is this reconciled with the Biblical truth of justification by faith alone? Schreiner helpfully explains,

“God’s judgment on that day will be according to works but not on the basis of works (Rom. 2:6-10; 2 Cor. 5:10)…These good works are the fruit of faith and a result of the Spirit’s works. They do not, in and of themselves, achieve salvation…Future justification, then, is the manifestation of present justification.”[46]

Thus, the declaration made at the judgment seat of Christ will correspond with the declaration made when a believer puts true faith in Jesus Christ, “justified!” For the works displayed at the judgment seat will be the manifestations of a true faith.

So in conclusion to this section we see that the future hope which Paul looks towards gives him courage to complete the ministry. And this hope presses him on in the glorious pursuit to be found well pleasing to God on the final judgment day.

Conclusion

Therefore, we have clearly seen that Paul’s hope was laid in the future resurrection which he would attain. Though his opponents claimed that the afflictions which he had gone through discredited him as a faithful apostle, Paul knew other wise. He willing let his body suffer affliction and bruising for the sake of taking the gospel to the Corinthians. Paul could do this because he had a hope of a future resurrection where the weak tent where he presently resided in would be replaced by a dwelling from God. This dwelling would be an eternal residence so that he would not have to exist in a bodiless state. Thus, he fulfilled the callings of his ministry with courage. Because he knew that he would have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of his faithfulness.

Devotional

Safety, security, and peacefulness are words that can describe too much of American evangelicalism. Not only that, but when we think of preachers we think of preachers nicely dressed in the attire we deem appropriate. Whether it be a two piece suit of shorts with a T-shirt. We want them to look the way we want them to look. Given those reasons Paul would probably be an outcast in our churches. He was not safe, and he did not look the part.

Yet, that is how true gospel ministry is suppose to look like. By giving oneself for the glory of God and to love people by telling them the gospel message—and that is what Paul looked like. His eyes were centered on being well pleasing to God and his heart was poured out for the Corinthians. And he did this no matter if it took him to places where he abounded in material things or to places where death seemed imminent.

The encouragement that was set before His eyes in all of this was the hope of the resurrection. He knew that the suffering, caused by being faithful to God would be compensated in full by his Lord. Thus, he pressed on no matter how much it cost. May our eyes be opened to the inheritance that is ours in Christ Jesus as Paul’s eyes were open to it!


[1] Murray J. Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005), 338.

[2] Garland has it referring back to verses 7-10. David E. Garland, 2 Corinthains, The New American Commentary, vol 29. ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1999), 239. Barnett would see the whole of 1-15 as being referred too. Paul Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997), 250.

[3] C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, Haper’s New Testament Commentaries, ed. Henery Chadwick (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1973), 145. Ralph P. Martin, 2 Corinthians, Word Biblical Commentary, vol 40. ed. David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Waco, TX: Word Book, 1986), 91. Margaret E. Thrall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Second Epistle to the Corinthians Volume I, (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1994), 347.

[4] Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, International Critical Commentary (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1915), 134.

[5] Furnish would say that the “ἡ χάρις” is possibly referring to “that grace by which apostles are commissioned to the service of the gospel.” Victor Paul Furnish, II Corinthians, In The Anchor Bible, vol. 32a.

(Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1984), 287. Yet, this makes no sense. For the ministry that Paul was talking about was “διʼ ὑμᾶς” (for your sake), as Thrall points out. Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 344-45. How was Paul’s apostleship suppose to spread through the Corinthians? Thus I agree with Thrall, as do Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 356. and Garland, 2 Corinthains, 237-238. that there is a salvific meaning in ἡ χάρις. So I take ἡ χάρις to be referring back to the grace which Paul was describing in 3:12-18.

[6] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 358.

[7] This “outer self” should not be understood to refer to the same concept as “the old man” Paul talks about in Romans. Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 350; Furnish, II Corinthians, 289. It is to be taken as speaking to “his life as a mere man.” Martin, 2 Corinthians, 91.

[8] Garland, 2 Corinthains, 240

[9] Ben Witherington III, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 348.

[10] Paul Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 250.

[11] Garland, 2 Corinthains, 240

[12] Much discussion has occurred on the topic of anthropology because of Paul’s statements of the “inner man” and “outer man.” The debate centers on dualism and the nature of body and soul. Such a discussion does not affect the thesis of this paper so it will be passed by. Sufficient to conclude on this matter is Garland’s admonition no to divorce these verses from the resurrection theme coming in 5:1-10. Ibid., 245.

[13] Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 855.

[14] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 174-182.

[15] Romano Penna, Paul The Apostle: Jew and Greek Alike, vol. 1. trans. Thomas P. Wahl. (Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press, 1996), 232.

[16] Schreiner, New Testament Theology, 855.

[17] Garland, 2 Corinthians, 245.

[18] N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 367.

[19] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 370. See Also Furnish, II Corinthians, 292

[20] Barrett, , A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, 150. Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 142. and Thrall The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 360. would see it as a genitive of apposition. The meaning of the phrase, however, is not changed by this.

[21] A issue is raised about meaning of  ἔχομεν being a present active. What does Paul mean when he says that we have this dwelling from God in the present? Garland would see the verb meaning that we receive a resurrection body immediately upon our death. Garland, 2 Corinthians, 251-252.

However it is best to take the present as a futuristic present. Andrew T. Lincoln, Paradise Now and Not Yet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 64. Cf. also Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 144 and Barrett, A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, 151. Also, understanding the verb in this way would not cause a problem with the word γυμνοὶ in verse 3. Cf. Ben Witherington III, Jesus, Paul and the End of the World (Downners Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 205-206.

[22] Barrett, A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, 151.

[23] Furnish, II Corinthians, 293

[24] For a good summary of the literary evidence behind this understanding of the term see Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 357-359.

[25] Ibid., 360-367.

[26] Garland, 2 Corinthians, 250-51, Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 142. Martin, 2 Corinthians, 103. Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 367.

[27] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 372.

[28] Although, while the primary understanding of these terms should be a body. One should not throw out, all together, a temple conection being made by Paul here. Our bodies are presently the temple of God (1 Cor 6:19). And Beale points out that the phrase, “not made with hands,” is “virtually everywhere else a technical way of speaking about the new eschatological temple. G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol 17. ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 257. Also, one can make the association of the “tent” with the tabernacle. Thrall would even allow tabernacle imagery to remain while not making it the primary meaning, Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 361-362. Thus, the idea that Paul is making a temple connection here should not be dismissed entirely. One will have to hold that Paul is talking about the real resurrection and body and the eschatological temple at the same time.

[29] Nestle-Aland 27th edition chose to go with ἐκδυσάμενοι as the best reading, thus rendering the translation of the word “putting off.” However, the variant reading should be preferred in this instance and translated “putting on.” Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary (Carol Streams, Ill: Tyndale House, 2008), 541. Cf. Also Margaret E. Thrall, “‘Putting on’ or ‘Stripping off’ in 2 Corinthians 5:3,” in New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance of Exegesis, ed. Eldon Jay Epp and Gordon D. Fee (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1981), 221-238.

[30] Taken from Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 385

[31] Gerhard Kittel and Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), S. 1:773-774. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1996, c1989), S. 2:53. Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, ed. and trans. Frederick W. Danker, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilber Gingrich [BDAG], 3rd Edition. (Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2000), s.v. “γυμνός”

[32] And there can be different types of this “moral” belief. For example, Furnish would see “having once clothed ourselves” in verse 3 referring to baptism. Thus naked is denying one’s baptism and so being found alienated from Christ. Furnish, II Corinthians, 298.

[33] Lincoln, Paradise Now and Not Yet, 66.

[34] Barrett, A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, 156. Martin, 2 Corinthians, 105-106. Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 387-388. Garland, 2 Corinthians, 259-260. Plummer, The Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 147. Thrall, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 379. Lincoln, Paradise Now and Not Yet, 66

[35] This should not be taken as if Paul does not believe in an intermediate state. See fn. 38 below for a fuller discussion on this issue.

[36] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 394

[37] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 631. Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 395.

[38] There is a question about the intermediate state when looking at verse 8. Is Paul saying that there is a state of being bodiless which one enters into while they await the resurrection? Or should Paul’s desire not to be found bodiless in verse 3 deny such a belief?

Verses 3 and 4 should not be seen as denying the intermediate state. Two reasons can be given for this. The first is that the topic of an intermediate state is not a concern for Paul at this point. Just as it is with the argument against the “garment” understanding of clothing, an interjection about the intermediate state is out of context. What Paul is arguing for is the greatness of the future body that he will posses. We should not try to read too much about a particular question into one term when the context is not about the particular question. The second one is that just because Paul does not want to exist in a bodiless state does not mean that he would deny such state. He does clearly, though sparsely, speak of being with the Lord right after he would die (2 Cor 5:8, Phil 1:23). Paul’s focus on the intermediate state is lacking “precisely because it is intermediate and temporary.” Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 466. He does not look to the intermediate state but beyond it. He is not against the intermediate state and would rather be in it but, “His preference is for the final state.” Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 367.

For a defense that the intermediate state is being referred to in verse 8 see Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 400-401.

[39] Barrett, A Commentary on The Second Epistle to The Corinthians, 158.

[40] Furnish, II Corinthians, 304.

[41] Martin, 2 Corinthians, 114.

[42] Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 408-409

[43] Ibid., 409.

[44] Schreiner, Paul, 283.

[45] Ibid., 470.

[46] Schreiner, New Testament Theology, 852-853.

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