Paul’s Motives - Page 5 of 5 (series: Lessons on 2 Cor.)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

That those who live
“That those who live” are true Christians, who are made alive unto God as the result of the dying love of the Redeemer. Sinners are dead in sins. Christians are alive to the worth of the soul, the presence of God, the importance of religion, and the reality of eternity; that is, they act and feel as if these things had a real existence and as if they should exert a constant influence upon the heart and life.

This spiritual life, no doubt, implies that a man is alive to the worth of the soul, the presence of God, etc.; but it intimates something deeper too, which is the foundation of those things, and without which they could not exist. Scott paraphrases thus, "were quickened and pardoned, and so passed from death to life;" and still more explicitly, "were made supernaturally alive by his quickening spirit and by faith in him." This is the root; the cause. Everything else mentioned is only the effects.

It is obvious that Paul makes a distinction here between those for whom Christ died and those who actually “live,” thus demonstrating that there may be many for whom He died who do not live to God, or who are not saved by His death. The atonement was for all, but only a part are actually made alive to God. Multitudes reject it; but the fact that He died for all; that He tasted death for every man, that He not only died for the elect but for all others, that His compassion was so great as to embrace the whole human family in the design of His death, is a reason why they who are actually made alive to God should consecrate themselves entirely to His service. The fact that He died for all showed such unbounded and infinite love that it should induce us who are actually profited by His death, and who have any sensible views of it, to devote all that we have to His service.

Should live no longer for themselves
The idea here is that we should not seek our own comfort and pleasure; should not make it our great object to promote our own interest, but should make it the grand purpose of our lives to promote His honor, and to advance His cause. This is a vital principle in religion, and it is extremely important to know what is meant by living for ourselves, and whether we do it. It is done in the following ways, and perhaps in some other ways:

1. When people seek pleasure, gain, or reputation as the controlling principle of their lives.
2. When, regardless of the rights of others, people sacrifice all the claims which others have on them in order to secure the advancement of their own purposes and ends.
3. When, without any regard for the needs of others, people turn a deaf ear to all the appeals which charity makes to them, and have no time to give to serve them, and no money to spare to alleviate their needs; and especially when they turn a deaf ear to the appeals which are made for the dissemination of the gospel to the unenlightened and perishing.
4. When their main purpose is the enrichment of their own families, for their families are only a reflection of self.
5. When they seek their own salvation only from selfish motives, and not from a desire to honor God. Multitudes are selfish even in their religion; and the main purpose which they have in view, is to promote themselves, and not to honor the Master whom they profess to serve. They seek and profess religion only because they desire to escape from wrath, and to obtain the happiness of heaven, and not from any love for the Redeemer or any desire to honor Him, Or they seek to build up the interests of their own church and party, and all their zeal is expended on that and that alone, without any real desire to honor the Savior. And, in the church, they are still selfish, and live entirely for themselves. They live for luxury, for gain, for reputation. They practice no self-denial; they make no effort; to advance the cause of God the Savior.

But for Him who died for them and rose again
To live for Him is the opposite of living for ourselves. It means to seek His honor, to feel that we belong to Him; that all our time and talents, all our strength of intellect and body, and all the benefits of our skill and toil belong to Him, and should be employed in his service. If we have talents by which we can influence other minds, they should be employed to honor the Savior. If we have skill, or strength to labor by which we can make money, we should feel that it all belongs to Him, and should be employed in His service. If we have property, we should feel that it is His, and that He has a claim upon it all, and that it should be honestly consecrated to His cause. And if we are endowed with a spirit of missions, and are suited by nature to encounter perils in distant and barbarous places, as Paul was, we should feel like him that we are bound to devote it all entirely to His service, and to the promotion of His cause.

A servant, and a slave, does not live for himself but for his master. His person, his time, his limbs, his talents, and the rewards of his hard work are not regarded as his own. He is judged incapable of holding any property which is not at the disposal of his master. If he has strength, it is his master's. If he has skill, the benefits of it are his master's. If he is an ingenious mechanic, or labors in any field; if he is friendly, kind, gentle, and faithful, and fit to be useful in an eminent degree, it is regarded as all the property of his master. He is bound to go where his master chooses; to execute the task which he assigns; to deny himself at his master's will; and to come and lay the gains from all his toil and skill at his master's feet. He is regarded as having been purchased with money; and the purchase money is supposed to give his master a right to his time, his talents, his services, and his soul. Such as the slave is supposed to become by purchase, and by the operation of human laws, the Christian becomes by the purchase of the Son of God, and by the voluntary recognition of Him as the master, and as having a right to all that we have and are. It all belongs to Him; and all of it should be employed in endeavoring to promote his glory, and in advancing his cause.


{1] (John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

{2] (2 Co. 1:4) who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

{3] (1 Sam. 16:7) But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

{4] (2 Co. 10:7) Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's.

{5] (Rom. 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

{6] (2 Co. 13:13, 14) All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

{7] (Eph. 3:19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God

{8] (John 15:9-10) "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

{9] (Rom. 8:35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

{10] (Rom. 3:26-26) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

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