Jim Humphrey Consulting


Vol 5, No 64

2nd Corinthians 5:1 – 21: To Whom the “We” & “Us Refers;” Key Verses Words; A New Creation; The Fear of The Lord:

Volume 5, Number 65
Created Date: February 2, 2024
Posted Date: February 2, 2024

The 5th chapter of 2nd Corinthians has 21 verses and either the word “we” or “us” is found in all but 2 of them. “We” is the most common and sometimes occurs 2 or 3 times in a single verse, while both “we” and “us” are found in some. The dictionary defines “we” as “a first-person plural pronoun that refers to the speaker and one or more other people as the subject of a verb; it is used in various contexts, including: when a speaker or writer uses ‘us’ to refer to both themselves and one or more other people, such as in a conversation or when addressing a group, etc.” This leaves us to consider whether The Apostle Paul is referring to himself and those who ministered with him or if the “we” and “us” includes not only himself but all true believers since he wrote this epistle.

It appears that “we” and “us” in this chapter almost always includes every person over the last almost 2000 years who has truly believed the Gospel of Grace originally revealed to Paul. There are only 4 verses in which Paul may be referring to himself and his companions: (verse 11) “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (verse 12) For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on “our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. (verse 13) For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.” 2nd Corinthians 5:11 - 13. (And also 2 Corinthians 5:2020 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

) Note the highlighted words “I,” “we,” “ourselves” and “our” appear to refer to Paul and his immediate companions, however, it could include any faithful ministers of the true Gospel since. The words “your,” “you” and “ye” refer to the Corinthian Saints and by extension to all true believers since, including us today.

Only verses 15 & 17 do not contain either “we” or “us:” “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.” 2 Corinthians 5:1515 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.

; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:1717 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

. These are key verses, not only in this chapter, but in the entire epistle. This because all hope for mankind to have eternal life is dependent upon “Him,” Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection. The only way to be saved from eternal damnation, i.e., becoming Members of Christ’s Body, is to believe the Gospel of God’s Grace from the heart. And that Gospel is clear and simple; that Christ died, was buried and rose again, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 41 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

. So simple it’s difficult to understand why more don’t take it to heart when it is the difference between an eternity in heaven as opposed to one in hell. Corinthians 5:17 can be said to be the next step after believing the Gospel, that of a true understanding that Christ died for all who believe so they no longer live unto themselves but unto Christ Who died and rose again. And thus, every believer is a totally new creation, their old flesh is considered dead; all things about them are in Christ. The Apostle Paul puts this succinctly in Galatians: “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 2:2020 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless 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.

. Obviously, the “I” in this verse applies not only to Paul who wrote it, but to all believers since him.

Now consider the teaching in the verse between verses 15 and 17: “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.” 2 Corinthians 5:1616 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.

. The “wherefore” that begins this verse refers to the truth of verse 15; Christ died for all, that believers should not live unto themselves, but unto Christ Who died for them, and rose again; “wherefore,” or, “for that reason,” believers no longer know anyone after the flesh just as they no longer know Christ after the flesh. Christ’s death on the cross was for the sins of mankind. When He rose from the dead, He was a totally new Creation; The Lord Jesus Christ. There never before was a Person such as He became at being resurrected. He is every bit equal with God and is a Spiritually Perfect Man. Believers today are not considered looked at by God as being in the flesh, but in the Spirit because the Spirit indwells them, Romans 8:99 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

; They are Members of His Body, being in Him, Ephesians 1:22 - 2322 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

; seated with Him in Heaven, Ephesians 2:6 - 76 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

. This is by faith while believers live on earth, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Corinthians 5:77 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

. Thus the beginning of this chapter teaches: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” 1 Corinthians 5:1 - 21 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

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While on earth, all believers are absent from the Lord, 2 Corinthians 2:66 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

but are confident (exercise courage) and willing (take pleasure ) to be absent from these bodies to be present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:88 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

. Therefore, Members of Christ’s Body are exhorted to labor to be accepted by God as they will stand before The Lord Jesus Christ at His Judgement Seat (Bema), 2 Corinthians 5:9 - 109 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

. As noted above, the “we,” “I,” etc. in verses 11 - 13 appear to refer to the Apostle Paul and his companions, however I’d like to point out something about the word “terror” in verse 11: “Knowing (seeing, perceiving, considering, understanding) therefore the terror (fear) of the Lord, we persuade (convince, conciliate, assure) men; but we are made manifest (rendered apparent) unto God; and I trust (hope) also are made manifest (rendered apparent) in your consciences (co-perception of moral consciousness), ” 2 Corinthians 5:1111 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

. The word translated “terror” in the King James Version (KJV) is from the Greek “phobos” (G5401) found 47 times in the New Testament (NT) where it is translated “fear” 41 times, “terror” only 3 and variously with other words 3 times. According to Bullinger’s book “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible,” page 602, the phrase “Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord” is the figure of speech “Metonymy (of the Adjunct) where fear is put for God Who is feared, or for any object of fear,” thus the idea of the phrase “Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord” is “knowing, therefore, the Lord is One Who is to be feared.”

“Therefore, the Lord is One Who is to be feared” should be known by all believers, but it is not that of taking a misstep resulting in punishment; it is a healthy realization that He is One Who is to be feared. The Lord is Holy, see Psalms 93, 97, 99, Isaiah 6:33 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

& Revelation 4:88 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

. The Jewish Kingdom believers in Jerusalem had just such a healthy fear as long as their experience lasted: “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” Acts 9:3131 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

. Those Jewish Kingdom believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:4 - 54 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

, the Holy Spirit came upon them, Acts 1:88 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:2 - 42 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

: Acts 2:1717 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

. All that was a taste of what will happen after the Tribulation when Israel experiences the baptism/engulfment/filling of the Holy Spirit during Christ’s Kingdom rule on earth, Ezekiel 37:1414 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

. On the other hand, Members of Christ’s Body have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ, Romans 6:3 - 63 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

; Galatians 3:27 - 2827 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

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The unbeliever has no fear of the Lord, Romans 3:1818 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

but they will someday witness the One Who is to be Feared when they stand before Him in Judgement: “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose Face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11 - 1511 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

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God reconciled believers to Himself by Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:1818 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

a. “Reconciled” is from the Greek “katallas’so” (G2644) found only 6 times; twice in Romans 5:1010 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

, once in 1 Corinthians 7:1111 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

and 3 times in 2 Corinthians 5:18 - 2018 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

. It means “to change against anything, to exchange; then, to change a person, reconcile to anyone - so to act that the opposite party may lay aside his enmity.” God accomplished this for believers by the finished work of Jesus Christ. And He has given “us” (all believers) the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18b. “Reconciliation” is from the Greek “katallage” (G2643) found only 4 times, twice in Romans (Romans 5:1111 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

translated “atonement” and Romans 11:1515 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

, “reconciling”) and twice here in 2 Corinthians 5:18 - 1918 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

. According to Bullinger’s Greek Lexicon, page 629, “The ministry of Reconciliation is not the office of teaching the doctrine of remission or expiation: but it is the office of advising, exhorting, beseeching men to be reconciled to God. For it is not God Who is the enemy of men, but men who are the enemies to God, Romans 5:8 - 108 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

; Romans 8:77 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

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“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling (G2644) the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto (has placed in) “us” (all believers) the word of reconciliation (G2643). Now then “we” (all believers) are ambassadors (representatives) for Christ, as though God did beseech you by “us” (Paul and those with him): “we” (Paul and those with him) pray “you” (all believers) in Christ's stead, be “ye” (all believers) reconciled (G2644) to God. For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for “us” (all believers), who (Jesus Christ) knew no sin; that “we” (all believers) might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus Christ).” 2 Corinthians 5:19 - 2119 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

. (The Greek word translated ambassadors is found only here and in Ephesians 6:2020 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

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Jim Humphrey
Vol 5, No 64