We Died With Him- 2 Corinthians 5:15

As we have seen thus far in our study of 2 Corinthians 5, Paul has told of us being compelled by the love of Christ, and that this compulsion was actually a type of possession, but the possession of one who was in his right mind and fully willing to be “possessed”. We then saw that Paul was compelled because he was “convinced”, and that this “conviction” was the result of a decision making process. So, to sum up what we have seen thus far, Paul here tells us that the compulsion here is a clear minded devotion to another, and that this compulsion comes about because we have made a clear minded decision. As Paul considered what Christ did for him, he examined the evidence and made a one time decision. He became convinced of something, that he now considered “all things as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Paul then tells us, in verse 15, just what it was which caused him to make this decision, and how that decision worked itself out in his life. We recall that Paul has told us, in verse 14, that Christ “died for all, and therefore all died”. Christ died “for” (huper in the Greek) us, and all who trust in Him died with Him, and in verse 15 he elaborates upon what this means. He begins verse 15 with the Greek word kai, “and” or “also”, which shows us that verse 15 is a continuation of the idea begun in verse 14. He follows this by repeating the fact that Christ died “for” (huper again) all, and then gives us the purpose or intent of this dying through the use of the Greek hina, literally “in order that”. Christ died for us in order that something would be made possible in our lives (more on that shortly), and Paul then tells us what the death of Christ was intended to produce in our lives. Christ died not only that we would go to heaven when we die, but also that we may live with Him here and now, in order that we would live lives compelled (possessed) by His love and characterized by love for others. Paul then tells us what His dying for us was intended to produce in our lives here and now, he then describes for us what the compulsion and conviction of verse 14 are intended to produce in us, and he does so in what he tells us after the hina. We will begin by quoting this phrase exactly as it is written in the Greek text, which is as follows: “the living no longer themselves live but rather the one for them who died and was raised again”. There are several things we must note in this phrase which will help us understand just what we believe Paul intends to say to us here. The first is that the verb “live” here is the present active subjunctive of zao, to live. The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility, and Paul uses it here to make us aware that the death of Christ has made something possible in our lives, though it is now up to us to make it actual, which we do through the clear minded decision of verse 14. The verb zao is the Greek word commonly used to refer to eternal life, which can be defined as “life as God intends it to be lived”. This type of life is primarily seen in Jesus Christ, who lived life united to the Father, fully dependent upon (compelled by?) the Father, not living “His life” for the Father, but rather the Father living in and through Him (John 8:28, 14:10). The next thing we must note here is the absence of the word “for” (Greek huper) preceding either the word themselves or after the word live, or prior to the word “the one”. This is a crucial point which needs to be made here, for it is our contention that the addition of the word “for” here actually distracts us from what Paul is telling us here. We believe that what he is telling us here is in fact a further development of what Paul told the church in Galatia in Galatians 2:20. This verse reads as follows: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. What all of this boils down to is that it is our contention that Paul is not telling us here that Christ died in order that it would be made possible for us to live our lives for Him, but rather that it has been made possible for Him to live His life in and through us. We do this as we become convinced not only of the fact of His death for us, but also of our death with Him. The compulsion to live a life of love does not involve us living our lives for Him, but Him living His life through us. This is how Jesus lived, the Father living in and through Him, and Paul calls all of Jesus followers to live in the same way, to make the one time decision that they have “been crucified with Christ” and that they “no longer live, but Christ lives in them”. We will, therefore, live our lives compelled by love only to the extent that we realize and accept the fact that Christ died for us, that we have died with Him, and that we are not called here to live “our” lives for Him, but to make the one time decision to learn to let Him live His life in and through us.

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