And that he died for all, that they which live, etc. - This third position he draws from the preceding: If all were dead, and in danger of endless perdition; and if he died for all, to save them from that perdition; then it justly follows that they are not their own, that they are bought by his blood; and should not live unto themselves, for this is the way to final ruin; but unto him who died for them, and thus made an atonement for their sins, and rose again for their justification.
And that he died for all - This verse is designed still further to explain the reasons of the conduct of the apostle. He had not lived for himself. He had not lived to amass wealth, or to enjoy pleasure, or to obtain a reputation. He had lived a life of self-denial, and of toil; and he here states the reason why he had done it. It was because he felt that the great purpose of the death of the Redeemer was to secure this result. To that Saviour, therefore, who died for all, he consecrated his talents and his time, and sought in every way possible to promote his glory.
That they which live - They who 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, the solemnities 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.
(“They which live.” This spiritual life, doubtless, 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 Guyse still more explicitly, “were made supernaturally alive by his quickening spirit and by faith in him.” This is the root; the things mentioned in the comment, the fruit; this the cause, these only the effects.)
It is observable 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 savingly benefitted 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 benevolence 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 evinced such unbounded and infinite benevolence that it should induce us who are actually benefitted by his death, and who have any just views of it, to devote all that we have to his service.
Should not henceforth live unto themselves - Should not seek our own ease 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 exceedingly important to know what is meant by living to ourselves, and whether we do it. It is done in the following, and perhaps in some other ways:
(1) When people seek pleasure, gain, or reputation as the controlling principle of their lives.
(2) when they are regardless of the rights of others, and sacrifice all the claims which others have on them in order to secure the advancement of their own purposes and ends.
(3) when they are regardless of the needs of others, and 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 diffusion of the gospel to the benighted and perishing.
(4) when their main purpose is the aggrandizement of their own families, for their families are but a diffusion of self. And,
(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 their own objects, and not the honor of 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 to 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 Saviour. Or though in the church, they are still selfish, and live wholly to themselves. They live for fashion, for gain, for reputation. They practice no self-denial; they make no effort; to advance the cause of God the Saviour.
But unto him - Unto the Lord Jesus Christ. To live to him is the opposite to living unto ourselves. It is to seek his honor; to feel that we belong to him; that all our time and talents; all our strength of intellect and body; all the avails of our skill and toil, all 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 Saviour. 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 enterprise, and are suited by nature to encounter perils in distant and barbarious climes, as Paul was, we should feel like him that we are bound to devote all entirely to his service, and to the promotion of his cause.
A servant, a slave, does not live to himself but to his master. His person, his time, his limbs, his talents, and the avails of his industry 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 avails of it are his master‘s. If he is an ingenious mechanic, or labors in any department; if he is amiable, kind, gentle, and faithful, and adapted 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 avails of 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 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. To him all belongs; and all should be employed in endeavoring to promote his glory, and in advancing his cause.
Which died for them, and rose again - Paul here states the grounds of the obligation under which he felt himself placed, to live not unto himself but unto Christ.
(1) the first is, the fact that Christ had died for him, and for all his people. The effect of that death was the same as a purchase. It was a purchase; see the note, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; compare 1 Peter 1:18-19.
(2) the second is, that he had risen again from the dead. To this fact Paul traced all his hopes of eternal life, and of the resurrection from the dead; see Romans 4:25. As we have the hope of the resurrection from the dead only from the fact that he rose; as he has “brought life and immortality to light,” and hath in this way “abolished death” 2 Timothy 1:10; as all the prospect of entering a world where there is no death and no grave is to be traced to the resurrection of the Saviour, so we are bound by every obligation of gratitude to devote ourselves without any reserve to him. To him, and him alone should we live; and in his cause our lives should be, as Paul‘s was, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in his sight.
All men have been bought with this infinite price. By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being. Whether believers or unbelievers, all men are the Lord's property. All are called to do service for Him, and for the manner in which they have met this claim, all will be required to render an account at the great judgment day. COL 326.1
But the claims of God are not recognized by all. It is those who profess to have accepted Christ's service who in the parable are represented as His own servants. COL 326.2
Christ's followers have been redeemed for service. Our Lord teaches that the true object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service—service to God and to their fellow men. Here Christ has presented to the world a higher conception of life than they had ever known. By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men. COL 326.3Read in context »
Every faculty of our being was given us that we might render acceptable service to our Maker. When, through sin, we perverted the gifts of God and sold our powers to the prince of darkness, Christ paid a ransom for us, even His own precious blood. “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them.” You are not to follow the customs of the world. “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 5T 542.1
*****Read in context »