Thursday, January 19, 2017

2 Corinthians 4:5-5:11 - Outward and Inner Man

2 Corinthians 4:5-5:11
Unless noted otherwise, all scripture quotations are from the World English Bible.
(1) Many look at various parts of 2 Corinthians 4:5-5:16 and read into them that the dead are conscious. Some refer to various verses in these two chapters in an effort to support the heathen inherent immortality theories (immortal soul/spirit). We believe if we carefully examine these scriptures, without the heathen doctrine of "immortal soul" in our minds, we will see that this is not so.

(2) The apostle is in these verses discussing the Christian only, and not the world. "For we don't preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." In 2 Corinthians 4:5 the apostle shows that the Christian, as viewed in himself, should not be preaching themselves, but Christ. Our highest place in the service of Christ is not exalt ourselves but Christ. This lays the groundwork for that which follows
.
(3) "Seeing it is God who said, 'Light will shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6) In whose hearts is it that this light is shining? This is the new creature in Christ, not the world in general. God's grace shines in the hearts of the new creatures, in contrast to those who have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, (Romans 10:12) and those Paul reproves who "do not have the knowledge of God." -- 1 Corinthians 15:34.

(4) "But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves." (2 Corinthians 4:7) When the apostle says "we" here he is speaking of the new creature in Christ, and not the world in general. The world does not have this treasure in their earthen vessels, the clay vessels, our human flesh. The light is said to shine into our hearts. (verse 4) This agrees with what Jesus said: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where you treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21, New American Standard Version) This treasure can be had from God in our clay vessels. The new creature has the holy spirit dwelling in his heart, as a token, or earnest, of that which is to come in the resurrection day. -- 2 Corinthians 1:22

(5) "We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh." (2 Corinthians 4:8-11) Here the apostle is not talking about dying and going to heaven, but is speaking of this present life. The new creature is to fill up the measure of the sufferings of Christ which are left behind. (Colossians 1:24) The Christian is to deny himself and lay down his life daily, as did Jesus. (Luke 9:23,24; Romans 8:36) The new creature in Christ is to count himself as dead to sin, no longer having his mind set on the flesh, but the spirit. (Romans 8:6-10) The effect is that the spirit of God and the life of Christ is seen in their mortal flesh. -- Romans 6:12,13.

(6) "So then death works in us, but life in you." (2 Corinthians 4:12) Death works in the new creatures, but as they lay down their lives for each other, this results in life for the other. The apostles set the example in this, suffering persecutions, difficulties, and many trials, that they might bring spiritual blessings to the church. -- 1 John 3:16.

(7) "But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, 'I believed, and therefore I spoke.' We also believe, and therefore also we speak; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you." (2 Corinthians 4:13,14) Here the apostle is speaking of the resurrection of the new creature, which is to occur in the last day. (John 6:39,40,44) It has nothing to do with going to heaven at death.

(8) "For all things (Greek, panta) are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we don't faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don't look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:15-18) When saying "all things", the apostle is not saying absolutely everything in the universe, but all things of which he is speaking. In the life of the new creature all things are for development of the new creature in knowledge and faith, and that he will in the divine provision find everything needful to these ends. (2 Peter 1:2-10; Romans 8:28) As the seed of Abraham, the sons of God are developed in this present evil world, that through this seed all the families of the earth will be blessed during the millennial age, that all may be to the glory of God. (Genesis 12:3; 22:16-18; Galatians 3:7-9,16,29; Hebrews 6:13-20; Acts 3:19-25; Philippians 2:11; Revelation 3:9) With this goal in mind the new creature does not faint, even though he is dying daily in service to the King, for he knows that these are but light affliction to suffer for the glory that is to be revealed. (Romans 8:18) Enduring suffering the inward man, the new creature, is renewed daily. The Christian therefore looks not at the things seen, the things of Satan's present evil world, which are only temporary, but the things not seen, the new heavens and new earth, which are eternal, the promise of which is now laid in store as treasures in heaven, which will be received in the last day -- the resurrection day. -- Romans 8:24-26; 2 Peter 3:13.

(9) "For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." (2 Corinthians 5:1) The apostle continues in the same line of thought as in the preceding chapter. In saying "we" Paul is speaking, not of the world, but of the church, those who have been begotten again by the holy spirit as new creatures. The earthly house of our tent (the present fleshly body in which the new creature resides) is undergoing death daily and will finally be dissolved. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Thus we look to a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens, as a treasure laid up to be received in the last day, the resurrection day. Please note that this treasure is now in our hearts, as we look not to things seen, but to things unseen. Unlike things upon this earth, which corrode, decay, or can be stolen from us, this inheritance is eternal; it will never be taken from those who are faithful. Please note also that this has nothing to do with a supposed immortal soul dwelling in our body. This pertains only to the church, who have been begotten of the spirit as new creatures. The new body is given in the resurrection, as it pleases the Father. -- 1 Corinthians 15:35-38.
\
(10) "For most assuredly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked." (2 Corinthians 5:2) The new creatures groan for their coming glorification, awaiting the adoption as sons, and the deliverance of the body of Christ - the church. (Romans 8:23; 12:4,5) In this world they are oppressed by the evil influence of the world, the devil, and the weaknesses of their own flesh. The new body provided at the resurrection of the saints will be their permanent "home."

(11) "If so be that being clothed we will not be found naked." (2 Corinthians 5:3)The "naked" condition is while in the death condition, the new creature is without a body, naked. It is not until the resurrection day that the new creature is to be clothed with a glorified body. In the meantime, they are "asleep in Christ," awaiting the resurrection day. -- 1 Corinthians 15:16-18.

(12) "For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:4) The burden of the new creature which causes him to groan is the wicked influence of Satan, the world and his own fallen flesh. If we are new creatures in Christ, our fleshly imperfections and weaknesses burden us, and the weaknesses and frailties of our friends and neighbors have their influence upon us -- we are in such close and constant contact with them. And we have also the persecutions imposed upon use through those who would oppose us due to our stand in Christ's name. However, these burdens are lightened as our hearts are cheered through faith in the divine character and promises, and the burden decreases in appearance as burdens to us as we become more and more acquainted with our Father, Yahweh, and with our Lord Jesus.

(13) The unclothed or death condition is not desirable though the majority of the church has to remain in that condition for many years. The crowning glory of a new body is not received until Christ returns, in the last day, when the dead are raised. (John 6:39,40,44,54; 14:3) It is not until the resurrection day that what is mortal is swallowed up by life. (1 Corinthians 15:54,55; Isaiah 25:8) What we prefer is not to have the little spark of present life extinguished, but have it absorbed into the perfect conditions of life to which we are begotten. -- John 3:5.

(14) "Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 5:5) The very things for which the new creation is made is to inherit the kingdom of God; to be co-rulers with Christ in blessing and judging the heathen (nations) during the millennial age. The down payment, earnest, or token of the coming promise is given in the spirit and spirit begettal as sons of God in this age. While counted now as "sons" they do not actually become so until the the seed sown has given birth in the resurrection day. -- Romans 8:24,25; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38.

(15) "Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:6,7) The apostle is restating what he had said to the Romans: "But you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you." (Romans 8:9) "Therefore, brothers, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of body, you will live." (Romans 8:12,13) We are "at home in the body" so long as we feel contented with our present conditions -- ourselves and our surroundings. As long we are in this condition, we are not living near the Lord, not walking with him as we should. The new creature, however, as implied in earlier verses, seeks a better home; therefore in our present life we are pilgrims and strangers. Thus we are to walk by faith, not by sight.

(16) "We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8) We are of good courage, confident, full of faith toward God, rejoicing in our walk by faith. When Paul speaks of being "at home in the body," and of being "present with the Lord," he does not appear to be contrasting this present life with the resurrected life beyond the grave, but rather, from the the context, it appears that he is speaking of two conditions that are possible for the Christian right here in this life. Notice what it says: one, a condition of nearness to the Lord, through faithfulness in doing his will, and the other that of comparative alienation from him through unfaithfulness in heeding his words of instruction. We would rather be absent from the body -- homeless, pilgrims and strangers in the present earth, and be at home with the Lord, in the spirit of our fellowship with him.

(17) But for those who would feel inclined to believe that Paul is speaking of being absent from the body and present with Lord in the Kingdom, would this mean that Paul was expecting to go to heaven to be with Lord the moment he died? No, there is nothing in this to warrant such a conclusion. As such, the verse would apply to the new creature in Christ and not to the world in general; that is, one who has been begotten will, by the dissolution of the present body, be present with the Lord in the resurrection day. This is in accordance with the promise given by our Lord in John 14:3.

(18) "Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him." (2 Corinthians 5:9) Again, we believe this is speaking of this present life, not of some future life. Whether we are present with Lord -- being in the spirit (Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 4:13) now, not after death -- or absent from the body -- by putting the body under, by not being in the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27; Romans 8:8,9,13; Colossians 3:5) now, not after death, we should strive to be well pleasing to him.

(19) However, again, for those who would be inclined to believe that this is speaking of being at home in the present body and being absent from this body and with the Lord in Kingdom, we would state: even if this is what he meant, this does not say anything about an immortal soul dwelling in us, nor does it say anything about anyone going to heaven. The saints are with the Lord when he returns, not before, for he says that when he returns, he will receive them to himself, that they might be with him. Thus, if applied as regards future life, it would be looked upon as: whether we are at home in our present, fallen body, or present with the Lord in the resurrection day, when we receive our new bodies, we make it our aim to be well pleasing to him. Thus for the new creature, "to be absent from the body" would mean to enter death and later in the resurrection be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) It is only at the resurrection at Christ's second advent that any will be privileged to see, be like, and be with Christ. -- John 14:2,3; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:20,21.

(20) "For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10) The "we" here is the church, not the world. This text does not refer the heathen who will be judged by the Son of Man and the saints during the Millennial age. (Isaiah 2:2-4; Matthew 25:32; John 12:47,48; Revelation 20:11-13) As new creatures in Christ, all through our pilgrimage we are standing at the bar of our Lord's judgment; he is testing us, proving us. But at the end of this age, one the first things the King does at his second advent, will be to assign the rewards for things done in the body. -- Luke 19:17,19,26; 1 Corinthians 3:8.14; Colossians 3:23,24; Revelation 11:18; 22:12.

(21) "Knowing therefore the fear [reverence] of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are revealed to God; and I hope that we are revealed also in your consciences." (2 Corinthians 5:11) The world does not know the reverence for Yahweh; the new creature is bought by their Lord, and has reverence for him as a wife has reverence for her husband. (Ephesians 5:23,33) Thus new creatures have a righteous fear of being displeasing to our Lord. "We persuade men, but we are revealed to God." The rewards of the kingdom are not forced upon any, but in view of the greatness of these Kingdom rewards, the apostle says he persuades men. All our efforts in pleasing our Lord are revealed or are manifest to God, even though they may not be manifest before men. Nevertheless, the apostle says that he hopes that he is revealed through his ministry in the consciences of those believers in Corinth. -- 2 Corinthians 4:1,2.

(22) Now let us further expand on the above verses: It is the new creature in Christ alone who has both an outward man and inward man. (2 Corinthians 4:16) His inward man the apostle discusses from three standpoints: (1) "clothed with our earthly tabernacle," our present bodies of fallen flesh, that is, in the present life (2 Corinthians 5:1,2,4,6,8,9); (2) "unclothed" or "naked"; (2 Corinthians 5:3,4); (3) having a "building from God," "clothed upon with our house from heaven," "clothed", that is, in the resurrection condition. (2 Corinthians 5:1,2,3,4) If these three standpoints and what is meant by our outward and our inward man are kept in mind, the passage will be recognized as saying nothing at all of the consciousness of the dead. The reason why some think this passage teaches the consciousness of the dead is that they presuppose the expression "outward man" means the body of every human being, and the expression "inward man" means a spirit being supposed by them to dwell in every human body. With this thought in mind they interpret this passage in such a way as to make it seemingly teach the consciousness of the dead.

If their theory were right, the conclusion would have to be drawn from this passage that all human beings at death receive their resurrection bodies, then go to the Lord and are with him in bliss forever. Such a thought not only contradicts numerous other scriptures, but also this passage itself. It is untrue that the sufferings of all men inure to the eternal bliss of all men. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) It is untrue that the wicked will has an eternal house -- a dwelling -- prepared in the heavens for them. (2 Corinthians 5:1) It is untrue that they desire the house -- the dwelling -- from heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:2) In general most of the human race believe they are already immortal; that they are made so by their Creator, thus for them it is not true that they are longing for a future acquisition of this life. (2 Corinthians 5:4; Romans 2:7) It is not true that God has been working in all men for the rewards being offered to the church, nor he has given to them the token of his spirit for such purpose. (2 Corinthians 5:5) It is not true that all men are walking by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) It is not true that all men are seeking to die and in the resurrection to be with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) It is not true that all men are working to the end that they might be always acceptable to the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:9) These statements are true of the Lord's faithful people only. The inward man, of which this section of scripture treats, and of which it says that it is to be clothed with a dwelling prepared from heaven, is the possession of the true Christian alone. It does not at all belong to the common, or natural man.

(23) What, then, is meant by the expressions, "the outward man" and the "inner man"? By the former our sinful fallen fleshly body, with all that it is and has is meant; and by the latter the new heart and mind begun in the Christian at his consecration of himself to Yahweh is meant. It is not a spirit being, it is a holy heart and mind, a holy disposition, a holy spirit. Of course, all men have the outward man; but only the spirit-begotten sons of God have the inward man. This inward man is a heavenly disposition, begun in the new will at consecration, and consisting of spiritual powers and of the spiritual disposition that the exercise of these spiritual powers develops. The scriptures give a variety of names to this heavenly disposition in God's faithful children. It is called: an unction from the Holy One (1 John 2:20); an anointing (1 John 2:27; Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21); the Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12,13; Philippians 1:21); Christ, the first-fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23); Christ, the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16,29); Christ in you (Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17); the inner man (Ephesians 3:16); the new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15); the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10); the hidden man of the heart (1 Peter 3:4); and most frequently of all the spirit, the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ in us (Romans 8:1,4,5,6,9-11,13-16,23,26,27; Matthew 26:41; Galatians 5:16,17) If we look at the connections in which these various expressions occur, we will see that in every case they are predicated of faithful Christians only. Hence they and they only have this inward man.

(24) God has promised us that if we have faith to do so, by a loyal use of His Holy Spirit, Word and Providence, he will develop the inward man to perfection amid the various experiences and trials through which we pass. It thus behooves the Christian to cooperate with God in this good work, willingly undergoing the sufferings, privations and sacrifices for Truth and Righteousness that attend the narrow way, in the hope of developing a character that will endure forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16,17) The Christian must detach his affections from earthly things and attach them to heavenly things. Our course leads to the final death of our fallen flesh -- the dissolution of our earthly house of this tabernacle -- but is a necessary step for us to take if we are to gain that for which we have begotten. (1 Corinthians 15:36) Thus in the resurrection we will be given new bodies, as it pleases the father. In the father's house, Jesus promises that there will be many dwelling places; some will be joint-heirs with Jesus, sitting on the throne with him, thus with spirit bodies. Others, while heirs, will not have had the same degree of development of suffering, and will thus receive positions on earth, in earthly bodies. (Psalm 45:6-17; Isaiah 32:1; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Revelation 14:1-3) It is for these dwelling places in service and glorification of God's majesty that the new creature longs for.

No comments:

Post a Comment