Be Sober

2Corinthians 5:11-16 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 

‘Terror’ [Greek: phobos] translated fear 39 times and terror (Rom. 13:3; 1Pet. 3:14). In view of this Paul persuade people to turn to God. They did not preach themselves neither were they “beside themselves” as some said. He said that if they were beside themselves for God and sober, it was for their [the saints of Corinth) good.

‘Sober’ [Greek: sophroneo] be of sound mind (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35; Rom. 12:3; Tit. 2:6; 1Pet. 4:7) as to not fall to sudden destruction. Four conditions are given to escape the sudden destruction of 1Thessalonians 5:6-11: [1] Not sleep [Greek: katheudo] to repose one’s self in sleep. Used of the sleeping, indifferent, careless, and unfaithful virgins (Mt. 25:5); of the sleeping disciples who could not watch with Christ one hour (Mt. 26:45); and of indifferent and backsliding men (Eph. 5:14; 1Th. 5:6,7,8). The warning here is that we do not go back into sin.  [2] Watch. Be always alert and live godly in Christ; do not permit yourself to be overthrown by temptation (Mt. 24:42-51). [3] Be sober [Greek: nepho] to drink no intoxicants; live soberly and righteously (Tit. 2:11-12). Translated be sober (1Th. 5:6, 8; 1Pet. 1:13; 5:8) and watch (2Tim. 4:5; 1Pet. 4:7). It was counted a disgrace even among the heathen to be drunk in the day, hence the admonition to live as children of light and of the day (1Th. 5:5-8). [4] Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet — the hope of salvation (1Th. 5:8; Eph. 6:10-18). We are not only to be sober and watch but we are called to fight the fight of faith and lay hold of eternal life (1Tim. 6:12; 1Cor. 9:24-27).

‘Constrains’ [Greek: sunecho] also translated “press” (Acts 18:5) and “throng” (Luke 8:45). Here it means to urge people to accept the gospel.

‘That if one died for all, then were all dead.’ Paul concludes that since Christ died for all, then all were dead and all should live unto Him who died and rose again for them (5:14-15). ‘Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.’ We trust no man’s flesh. We do not even recognize Christ after the flesh.

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