The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:13-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 17, 2015

13. For whether we are out of our mind, to God; whether we are sober, to you.
14. For the charity of Christ impels us: reckoning this, that if one died for all, all therefore died.
15. And for all Christ died; that those also who live, may now live not for themselves, but for Him, Who died for them and rose again.

Saint Paul s opponents said he was out of his mind, in consequence of the lofty view he took of the destinies of man, redeemed in Christ, and the absolute nothingness of earthly things. The same charge was afterwards made against him by the Roman governor, Festus. (Acts 26:24.) His reply here is, If I am mad it is for God s sake, lest you despise Him in despising His messengers and the message we deliver, and so perish in His anger–St. Chrysostom. The madness he was accused of was nothing but the simple narration of what he had seen, heard, and done. Theodoret. If we are sober, use the language of humility, it is for you, that you also may learn to think and speak humbly of yourselves. In either case it is not in my own cause that I am mad or sober, but for God and for you.

What impels me is the consideration of the infinite charity of Christ, Who never sought His own, and submitted to a painful and ignominious death, regardless, of life and reputation, to save mankind. And if He died for us all, He died to save us from eternal death, to which; we were all therefore liable. But He died for us, that we, restored to hope of life by His death and resurrection, may no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. And in giving all my life and energies to His service I am doing that to which every consideration of reason,, gratitude, duty, and affection irresistibly impels and urges me. This idea is further amplified in the following verse.

16. Therefore we henceforward know no one after the flesh. And if we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him not.

We, as dead, risen, living in Christ, and for Him alone, no longer regard, respect, or love any human being for considerations of earth, whether Jews or Gentiles, rich, or poor, relatives or strangers, aliens or citizens, but only with reference to Christ, and for God s sake. And if formerly we have known Christ Himself in the flesh during His mortal life (he says this in the name of other disciples of Christ, who regarded him with simply personal affection, as Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas observe),, we have learned now to regard Him with a higher and more spiritual reverence, as our God, Redeemer, and Lord. Probably some of Saint Paul s opponents, who were Jews, had listened to the teaching of Christ in Judea, and took advantage of this circumstance to claimauthority as teachers; and it is to such persons that Christ referred in Matt 7:22-23. I know you not.

17. If there is therefore in Christ a new creature, the old has passed away: behold all things are become new.

And what is true of us, the Apostles, is equally true of you, and of all baptised Christians. Your baptism has been a new creation. The old world has passed away. Its affections, ambitions, objects of desire, are all, for you,, past and over. They are replaced by a new life and a new world, new motives, new objects, a new principle of existence; to you, as to us, all things are become new.

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