A Devotional Study on 2Corinthians 5:14-15                                                  by Jack Kettler                                     


“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV)


An objective of this study will be to examine a favorite proof-text of those who promote the universal atonement of Christ that is limited in its efficacy as opposed to the specific effectual atonement of Christ. The conclusion of this study will end with a life application of the text.  


A definition of universal atonement is:


Jesus died as a propitiation for the sins of all humankind without exception but without the certainty of its benefits for any.


According to this view, if the benefits were efficacious for all, then universal salvation for all would be inescapable. According to the universal atonement adherents, this is unacceptable since it would mean everyone, in the end, is saved. Universal salvation is un-biblical; therefore, the atonement is weakened of any efficacy. The atonement in this view is then merely hypothetical and dependent upon some action that the hypothetical recipient must perform.      


A definition of the specific efficacious view of the atonement:


Specific efficacious atonement states that God the Father intended the work of salvation to provide a real substitutionary atonement for the elect of God. Consequently, Christ died for His sheep, those whom the Father had given to Him.


Today in evangelicalism, the universal atonement doctrine is the majority viewpoint. The universal atonement has not always enjoyed this status. This study will take the contrary position or Reformed view that the atonement of Christ was specific and efficacious. The Reformed view limits the atonement to those for whom it is intended, Christ’s sheep.


Both viewpoints limit the atonement. The universal view limits the atonement to those who respond in some way.  


The commentary evidence will consist of two historical sources, along with two contemporary sources that argue for the specific view.


Starting with Matthew Poole:


Matthew Poole was born at York, England, in 1624, and educated at Emmanuel College, in Cambridge. He became minister of St. Michael-le-Quernes, London, in 1648, and devoted himself to the Presbyterian cause. He was one of the great Puritans theologians. Few names will stand so high as Poole's in the Biblical scholarship of Great Britain.


Matthew Poole's Commentary:


“The love of Christ signifieth either that love towards the sons of men which was in Christ before the foundation of the world; for even then (as Solomon telleth us, Proverbs 8:31) he was rejoicing in the habitable part of the earth, and his delight was with the sons of men: which love showed itself in time, in his coming and assuming our natures, and dying upon the cross for us; John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Or else it signifieth that habit of love to Christ, which is in every believer; for it is true of either of these, that they constrain a believer’s soul.


Because (saith the apostle) we thus account, or reason, that if one died for all. All here is interpreted according to the various notions of men, about the extent of the death of Christ. Some by the term understanding all individuals; some, all the elect, or all those that should believe in Christ; others, some of all nations, Jews or Gentiles. Be it as it will, that point is not to be determined by this universal particle, which is as often in Scripture used in a restrained sense, as in a more general sense. The apostle here concludeth,


that if one died for all, then were all dead; which is to be understood of a spiritual death, as Ephesians 2:1. And the apostle’s argument dependeth upon this, that if all, for whom Christ died, had not been dead in sin, there then had been no need of his dying for to expiate their sin, and to redeem them from the guilt and power of it; but be they what they would, for whom Christ died, whether all individuals, or all the elect only, his dying for them was a manifest evidence that they were dead.


And he died for all those for whom he died, not only to redeem them from the guilt of sin, but also from their vain conversation; that they which live by his grace, might not make themselves the end of their life, and live to serve themselves, and gratify their own corrupt inclinations; but might make the service of Christ, the honour and glory of him who died for them, and also rose again from the dead, the end of their lives; arguing the reasonableness of a holy and Christian life, from the love and end of Christ in dying for them; according to that, Romans 14:7,8: For none of us, liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. This is one way by which a believer fetcheth strength from the death of Christ to die unto sin, and from his resurrection to live unto newness of life; he concluding: If Christ died, and rose again for him, that then he was once dead in trespasses and sins; and therefore he judgeth himself obliged, now that he is made spiritually alive, not to live to himself, or serve his own profit, honour, reputation, lusts, or passions, but to live in obedience to him, and to the honour and glory of him, who died to redeem him from the guilt and power of sin, and rose again to quicken him to newness of life and conversation, to the honour and glory of his Redeemer.” (1)


The contemporary Simon J. Kistemaker:


Simon J. Kistemaker was a New Testament scholar. He served as Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. Kistemaker studied at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary before obtaining a Th.D. from the Free University in Amsterdam. - Wikipedia


Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary:


“14. For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one died for all. Thus all died.


  The brevity of this verse need not diminish its pertinent message. These few words present the gospel that must be understood in the context of this chapter. Paul opposes the intruders and reminds the members of the Corinthian church of his faithfulness toward them as a minister of that gospel. Fully aware of the discord the intruders cause, he seeks to remove the conflict by reminding his readers of the gospel of Christ.

  a. “For the love of Christ controls us.” The connection between the preceding verse and this one is clear. Paul is in his right mind as he preaches the gospel of salvation. That gospel demonstrates the indescribable love of Christ toward his people.

  The New Testament employs the expression the love of Christ only three times: Paul asks the rhetorical question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35); he refers to the dimensions of Christ’s love and states that it surpasses human knowledge (Eph. 3:18–19); and he notes that the love of Christ controls us (v. 14). God originates this love, for he sent his one and only Son to redeem sinners (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). He elects his people in love and makes them more than conquerors through Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:7; 8:37).

  Some translators supply an objective genitive in this sentence: “our love for Christ.” But most scholars understand the phrase as a subjective genitive: the love that Christ has for us. We are not saying that Christ’s love for us does not elicit our love for him, but the intent of this verse is to reveal Christ’s death as evidence of his love.

    The Greek verb synechei, which I have translated “controls,” reveals some variations. Here are a few representative versions:

       “The love of Christ impels us” “For Christ’s love compels us” “For the love of Christ urges us on” “For the love of Christ overwhelms us” “For the love of Christ lays hold of us.”

      The significance of this Greek verb is that Paul and all believers are completely dominated by the love of Christ, so that they live for him. As Paul writes elsewhere, “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” (Gal. 2:20). As for Paul himself, he states that Christ controls him. And this claim his opponents can never utter, for they are governed not by Christ but by their own ambitions.

  b. “Because we are convinced that one died for all. Thus all died.” The clause one died for all, which eloquently expresses Christ’s love, is the gospel in summary—perhaps a creedal statement of the early church. We acclaim the truth of this statement, because all Scripture testifies to it (refer to 1 Cor. 15:3). It is by reading God’s Word that we come to this conclusion.

  That Christ died on Calvary’s cross is fact; that he died for all is gospel. But how do we explain the two terms for and all?


First, let us take the preposition for (Greek, hyper). It occurs in John 11:50, where the high priest Caiaphas suggests to the Sanhedrin that he would rather see one man die for the people than to see the whole nation perish. The preposition hyper with reference to Christ’s death means substitution, as for example in the words of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). Christ gave his body for his followers (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24; and see John 6:51). He suffered and died for sinners (1 Peter 2:21; 3:18); and he laid down his life for his own (1 John 3:16). In the statement, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3), the term hyper conveys the meaning that Jesus is both our representative and substitute. Christ represents us by pleading our cause before the Father (1 John 2:1), and he is our substitute by taking our place and being the bearer of our sins (v. 21). Similarly, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). When the preposition hyper occurs in the context of Christ’s death, it signifies substitution. Hence, the fact that Christ lifted the curse from humanity through his death is indeed a summary of the gospel.


  Next, the adjective all occurs twice in this verse and once in verse 15. Does Paul have in mind that Christ died for every human being? Or is he referring to every believer? We can say that the atoning death of Christ is sufficient for all people but efficient for all true believers. Jesus elected Judas Iscariot to be one of the twelve disciples, yet he calls him “a devil” and describes him as “the one doomed to destruction” (John 6:70; 17:12). Only those who appropriate Christ’s death in faith are included in the word all. We must examine, therefore, the usage of the word first in Paul’s epistles and then in verses 14 and 15. Thereafter we can fully appreciate the meaning of this passage.


  The use of “all” in Paul’s letters does not always mean universality. The apostle refuted the Corinthian motto “All things are permissible” (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23) in the contexts of sexual immorality and of food offered to idols. And Paul’s statement “For all things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21) appears in his discussion about earthly and heavenly wisdom. As always, the context determines the sense of a given expression.


  If we look closely at the wording of verses 14 and 15, we notice that the expression all is modified by three persons or qualities: the governing love of Christ, the pronoun us, and those who live for him. Christ died for all who believe in him, for faith is an essential element in the believer’s redemption. To all true believers Christ extends his redeeming love. Although the pronoun us often refers to Paul and his co-workers, here it is broad enough to embrace all Christ’s followers.


  In addition, this text must be explained in harmony with similar passages (Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22). Only those who have true faith in Christ Jesus receive eternal life, are reconciled to God, and are justified. Those who have died with Christ are recipients of eternal life (Rom. 6:8). They are the ones who are united with him in his death and resurrection and are alive to God.


  “Thus all died” is a brief statement that appears self-evident, if not superfluous. But the statement is a continuation of the preceding clause: “one died for all.” There the verb to die has a literal meaning that alludes to Christ’s physical death on the cross. Here that same verb may be taken in a figurative sense, namely, the removal of the curse of death (Gen. 2:17; 3:17–19; Gal. 3:13). Hence, the death of all who died points to the death that Christ, as both their representative and substitute, experienced for all his people. I make three observations: Paul draws a consequence from the previous clause by saying thus in “thus all died”; next, the Greek literally says “the all” to specify a particular group; and last, the verb died in this short clause shows the past tense and single action. The action occurred at Calvary but its significance is for the present.


  In other places, Paul pointedly states that God delivered his Son for us all (Rom. 8:32); now he also seems to say, “Christ died for us all.” All who have died metaphorically at the cross died with him, for Christ and his people are one body (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18, 24). On the cross of Calvary, Christ Jesus delivered the deathblow to death and set his people free from the bondage of sin (Rom. 6:6–7).


15. And he died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.


  a. “And he died for all.” With the conjunction and, Paul repeats the words of verse 14. He returns to the literal use of the verb to die to indicate the death of Christ at Golgotha. But the short clause that features the word all is explained by a lengthy sentence.

  b. “So that those who live might no longer live for themselves.” The purpose of Christ’s redemptive work is that his people, set free from the curse of sin, now enjoy life in fellowship with him. They are no longer spiritually dead but are the recipients of new life in Christ. Selfish goals and ambitions are set aside, because believers’ purpose now is to live for the One who died for them. Says Paul, “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:7–8).

  c. “But for him who died for them and was raised.” In Greek, the stress is on the phrase for them, a phrase that is placed emphatically between “for him who” and “died and was raised.” Paul calls attention to this phrase and intends it as an explanation of the preceding clause (“and he died for all”). He states that Christ died and was raised for those people who now live for him and produce spiritual fruit (Rom. 6:11; 7:4). Through his death, Christ set them free from the power of this world. And through his resurrection, he places them under his dominion to have them serve him as citizens in his kingdom.


  Lastly, the two concepts died and raised are intimately related to the phrase for them and govern it. It is one thing to say that Christ died as our substitute, but to say that he was raised as our substitute is inexact. Accordingly, with respect to his resurrection, Christ is our forerunner (Phil. 3:21). God raised him from the dead with the intent that we too shall be like him. Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection harvest (1 Cor. 15:20, 49).” (2)


John Murray:


Professor John Murray (1898-1975) recognized in his lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world. In 1929, he was invited to teach Systematic Theology at Princeton, and did so for one year, before joining the Faculty of the newly formed Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. There he shared with such scholars and Christian leaders as J. Gresham Machen and Cornelius Van Til in the great struggle to maintain the old Princeton tradition in theology, represented by the Hodges and B. B. Warfield. John Murray remained at Westminster until his retirement in 1966.


John Murray's Elucidation of 2Corinthians 5:14-15:


“The second biblical argument that we may adduce in support of the doctrine of definite atonement is that drawn from the fact that those for whom Christ died have themselves also died in Christ. In the New Testament, the more common way of representing the relation of believers to the death of Christ is to say that Christ died for them.


But there is also the strand of teaching to the effect that they died in Christ (cf. Rom 6:3-11; 2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 2:4-7; Col 3:3). There can be no doubt respecting the proposition that all for whom Christ died also died in Christ. For Paul says explicitly, “one died for all: therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5:14) - there is denotative equation.


The significant feature of this teaching of the apostle for rest is, however, that all who died in Christ rose again with him. This also Paul states explicitly. “But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him, knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom. 6:8, 9).


Just as Christ died and rose again, so all who died in him rose again in him. And when we ask the question what this rising again in Christ involves, Paul leaves us in no doubt - it is a rising again to newness of life ... (Rom 6:4, 5; 2 Cor. 5:14; Col 3:3).


To die with Christ is, therefore, to die to sin and to rise with him to the life of new obedience, to live not to ourselves but to him who died for us and rose again. The inference is inevitable that those for whom Christ died are those and those only who die to sin and live to righteousness. Now it is a plain fact that not all die to sin and live in newness of life. Hence, we cannot say that all men distributively died with Christ. And neither can we say that Christ died for all men, for the simple reason that all for whom Christ died also died in Christ. If we cannot say that Christ died for all men, neither can we say that the atonement is universal - it is the death of Christ for men that specifically constitutes the atonement...


In concluding our discussion of the extent of the atonement it may be well to reflect upon one or two passages which have frequently been appealed to as settling the debate in favour of universal atonement. 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 is one of these. On two occasions in this text, Paul says that Christ “died for all.” But that this expression is not to be understood as distributively universal can be shown by the terms of the passage itself when interpreted in the light of Paul's teaching.


We have found already that according to Paul's teaching all for whom Christ died also died in Christ. He states that truth emphatically – “one died for all: therefore all died.” But elsewhere he makes perfectly plain that those who died in Christ rise again with him (Rom 6:8). Although this latter truth is not stated in so many words in this passage, it is surely implied in the words, "he (Christ) died for all in order that those who live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him who died for them and rose again." ...


Hence, those referred to as “those who live” must have the same extent as those embraced in the preceding clause, “he died for all.” And since “those who live” do not embrace the whole human race, neither can the “all” referred to in the clause, “he died for all” embrace the entire human family. Corroboration is derived from the concluding words of [2 Cor. 5:15], “but to him who died for them and rose again.” Here again the death and resurrection of Christ are conjoined and the analogy of Paul's teaching in similar contexts is to the effect that those who are the beneficiaries of Christ's death are also of his resurrection and therefore of his resurrection life.


So when Paul says here, “died for them and rose again” the implication is that those for whom he died are those for whom he rose, and those for whom he rose are those who live in newness of life. In terms of Paul's teaching then and, specifically, in terms of the import of this passage we cannot interpret the “for all” of 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 as distributively universal. So far from lending support to the doctrine of universal atonement this text does the opposite.” (3)


John Gill:


John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School, where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. - Wikipedia


John Gill, Exposition of the Old & New Testaments:


“The persons for whom Christ died are all; not every individual of mankind, but all his people, all his sheep, all the members of his church, or all the sons he, as the great Captain of salvation, brings to glory. Wherefore this text does not make for the doctrine of general redemption; for it should be observed, that it does not say that Christ died for “all men”, but for “all”; and so, agreeably to the Scriptures, may be understood of all the persons mentioned. Moreover, in the latter part of the text it is said, that those for whom Christ died, for them he rose again; he died for no more, nor for others, than those for whom he rose again: now those for whom he rose again, he rose for their justification; wherefore, if Christ rose for the justification of all men, all would be justified, or the end of Christ's resurrection would not be answered; but all men are not, nor will they be justified, some will be condemned; hence it follows, that Christ did not rise from the dead for all men, and consequently did not die for all men: besides, the “all” for whom Christ died, died with him, and through his death are dead both to the law and sin; and he died for them, that they might live, not to themselves, but to him; neither of which are true of all the individuals of mankind: to which may be added, that the context explains the all of such who are in Christ, are new creatures, are reconciled to God, whose trespasses are not imputed to them, for whom Christ was made sin, and who are made the righteousness of God in him; which cannot be said of all men.” (4)


The following Scriptures establish this restriction or limitation in greater precision: 


“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)


Christ wounded for our transgressions, not everyone's.


“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:11-12)


We see explicit qualifiers in the above Isaiah passages that restrict Christ's death, using words like many (not all) bare their (again, not all).


“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)


Matthew could not be more explicit; Jesus “shall save his people.” Jesus effectively paid for the sins of His people.


“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)


The Son of man came to be “a ransom for many” (not all).


“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)


“And he said unto them; this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many.” (Mark 14:24)


In these two passages, Christ says His blood is shed “for many” (not everyone). If Christ's atonement was universal, this type of restrictive language makes no sense.


“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)


Christ lays down His life for “the sheep,” not the goats.


“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word....I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine....And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them....And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth....Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word....Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:6, 9-10, 19, 20, 24)


Christ's high priestly intercessory prayer is for those (they) whom the Father had given Him. Not every person who has ever lived or will live.


“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)


Only those who were ordained to eternal life believed. Christ's atoning sacrifice was intended for and effective for those who were ordained to eternal life.


“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)


The Church, not the world, is purchased with his own blood.


“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us [elect] all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)


God delivered up his Son for us all, the elect.


“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (1Corinthians 2:7)


“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.” (2Corinthians 5:21)


Christ bears the sins of His people by actually paying for our sins to the satisfaction of the Father.


“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)


Our redemption involves delivering us from our sins. Christ's blood was the redemption price that paid for our salvation, according to the riches of his grace. This redemption is real and effective for those for whom it was intended.


“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ, also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)


Christ gave himself for the His Church, not everyone indiscriminately.


In the above Scriptural passages, it is quite clear that the design of the atonement was limited. Christ died for His people, i.e., the Church. In John chapter seventeen, the intercessory prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ was restricted to His people. It was not a universal prayer for every person on earth.


An objection to this understanding:


The most common argument against the restriction seen in the above passages is verses that speak of Christ’s atoning death in a universal sense, such as 2Corinthians 5:14. In addition, the apostle says he is the propitiation for our: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world in 1John 2:2. The apostle also tells us that Jesus is called the Saviour of the world in John 4:42, and another passage; The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world John 1:29. The apostle Paul also appears to suggest a universal view of the atonement when he says, “Who gave himself a ransom for all” 1Timothy 2:6.


It should be noted, that these verses are easily found to be in harmony with other passages that support the doctrine of limitation or a restriction in the extent of atonement by understanding that the Scriptures use the words; “world,” or “all” many times in a qualified sense. There is nothing in the broader context of Scripture that demands these passages have to mean every person in the whole world.


Understanding this limitation is unmistakable, especially when other Scriptural passages are taken into account that act as qualifiers. For example, we see that; and it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed Luke 2:1, And all went to be taxed, every one into his city Luke 2:3. These passages could not be talking about every individual in the whole world. This decree of Caesar did not pertain to the indigenous Indians in the Americas and to those in Africa. To think so would be absurd.


Moreover, when the Pharisees said, do you see how you can do nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him in John 12:19. Can anyone maintain that every person in the world went after or followed Christ? Clearly, there is a restriction or limit to the word “world.” The word “world” by the context has to be limited to what happening in the nation of Israel during the First-Century. It should be abundantly clear that the word or phrases “all” or “all the world” do not mean every person on the planet. These types of objections fail to mitigate against the limitation of the atonement because it takes certain words out of context by forcing an absolute universal meaning onto the words.


In summary:


Those arguing for a universal atonement when seeing the passage in 2Corinthians, “died for all” presume that “all” refers to all human beings or everyone.


The Corinthian passage can be rendered “One died for all.” Thus, “all died.” If this translation is correct, the passage is saying the same thing as Paul teaches in Roman 5:15.


“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” (Romans 5:15 NASB)


In 2Corinthians 5:14-15, it should be noted that Paul does not say that Christ died for all that were dead, but that all were dead for whom He died.


Those disagreeing with this specific atonement of Christ need to ask themselves if they somehow think this limitation is unfair. What is unfair about “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15)?




Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers:


“(15) Should not henceforth live unto themselves.—St. Paul was not writing a theological treatise, and the statement was accordingly not meant to be an exhaustive presentment of all the purposes of God in the death of Christ. It was sufficient to give prominence to the thought that one purpose was that men should share at once His death and His life; should live not in selfishness, but in love; not to themselves, but to Him, as He lived to God. (Comp. Romans 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:5-7.) Now we see the full force of “the love of Christ constraineth us,” and “we love Him because He first loved us.” If He died for us, can we, without shame, frustrate the purpose of His death by not living to Him?” (5)


The purpose of Christ's death was that the people for which He died, the “all”, may no longer live for themselves, rather, live for Him and in Him who for their sake died and was raised.



  1. Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, 2Corinthians, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 615.
  2. Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, 2Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1986), p. 186-190.
  3. John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1996), pp. 69-72.
  4. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 2Corinthians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs, 2011), p. 520.
  5. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, 2Corinthians, Vol.7, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 281.


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com