“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
~2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV).
Many of the Corinthians were getting the message of the gospel wrong as it pertained to their own lives, as we will often too. We all tend to need reminding of the rudiments of faith and this is exactly what Paul is preaching—in rather basic terms here.
One Died for All, Therefore All Died (cf. Romans 5:12ff)
A quick lesson in Christian theology has us recalling that Adam was the man—though deceived with co-conspirator, Eve, i.e. they as a couple—who was led to the original sin. He initiated what God knew would probably happen, but trusted Adam was, and in his stead so too, humanity. One died and so did many, and with death, condemnation was ours.
This is the other angle to consider; one that is in Paul’s scope through this passage. Because Jesus died we too can live (i.e. experience) that death to the old life—the life manacled to sin.
In Jesus’ name we put it to death; we are resurrected from it.
Our sin is taken to the depths and left there, so to speak, in the grave that the old life represents. Where once we ignorantly or wantonly aligned with Adam, now through Jesus’ death, and our acceptance of that fact, we no longer do—the curse of the original sin no longer compels us toward hell. Freedom from condemnation has now become us. Grace has spared us, absolutely.
One Died for All So That All Might Live
Love it is that extends Paul’s plea to the Corinthians, just as twenty or so years earlier Christ’s love was poured out in a plea-worthy fashion for every last one.
Jesus died so that we might live. And as Paul refers, it goes further.
The invocation is to live for this Jesus—the One who died for us and our sin. And yet many will reasonably ask, “What on earth does that mean?”
Living for Jesus
“Living for” Jesus is very simply agreeing with him to live the resurrected life, which is a Spirit-buoyed reality above the condemnation for sin. It is also going far away—on a continual basis—from living for simply ourselves, which is what we’re all apt at doing.
Living for Jesus, then, is against any manner of selfish or irresponsible living.
It’s the right-sizing of our attitudes considering the world at hand ever beyond us. Here we’re choosing to do things right... as well as doing the right things... to not deliberately miss the mark in life... and to repent or atone when we do.
It is from this context of thinking that we can conceive other people also raised from the dead—that we can live among a people who are new creations in Jesus Christ.
Indeed, we begin to truly see others in Christ’s light as grace unfolds before us and permeates through our lives.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.