(Vs. 11.) "Being confident that there shall be a great and terrible judgement of the Lord, before which all must appear (Heb. 9:27), the Lord Jesus himself being the Judge ((Vs. 10, John 5:22), at which men shall give account for all that they have thought, said and done in the flesh, we persuade men to venture on Christ and believe on him to the saving of their souls. Salvation is only by Christ, who is both able and willing to save the chief of sinners (Heb. 7:25). If a man is in Christ by faith, there is no judgement nor condemnation awaiting him (Rom. 8:1, 34). If men are not persuaded and do not believe us, God knows our hearts and the sincerity of our mission. He knows that we labour for his glory and the good of men. I hope that our faithfulness and honesty are known to you also."
(Vs. 12.) The apostle is not praising himself nor commending himself to them, nor does he defend the sincerity of his ministry for their sakes, for they knew him. But he writes these things that they might have a reply for those false apostles and prophets who reproached Paul and gloried in outward show, in circumcision, in learning, in appearance only and who knew nothing about heart conviction, repentance and faith (Rom. 10:9, 10; Luke 16:15; Gal. 6:12-14).
(Vs. 13.) Paul's zeal and enthusiasm concerning Christ and the gospel of God's grace led many of his adversaries to call him a frantic, even a madman (Acts 26:24). He tells them that his great zeal and diligence were for the glory of God and the good of the church. "Whether we be mad, as some say, preaching with great ardour and forcefulness, or whether we be calm and lowly, it is to promote God's glory and your eternal good" (I Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17).
(Vs. 14.) All ministers of Christ and all believers in the Lord Jesus are under the sweetest and strongest constraint to do what they do. They are motivated by "the love of Christ" his love for them and their love for him. It is not fear of hell, desire for reward, nor concern for acceptance that excite believers to their duty, but Christ's eternal love, which led him to redeem them by his life and death, and the love of God which is shed abroad in their hearts (John 21:17; 1 John 4:19). His love for us is the chief motive, for we know that if he died then we were all dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). If we had not been dead spiritually, he would not have had to die. Also, if he died for us, we died in him to the world, to the claims and curse of the law and to ourselves (Gal. 6:14).
(Vs. 15.) How will men whom Christ loved and for whom Christ died live, labour and conduct themselves? Certainly not to themselves to serve their own profit, honour and ambitions, nor to the flesh to fulfil its lusts and cravings, nor to the world which hates Christ, but to him who died for them and rose again (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). The end of Christ's sacrifice was to redeem us from sin and make us holy (Eph. 1:3-5; Titus 2:14). It is unreasonable to suggest that a person chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son and regenerated by the Spirit will disregard the commandments of his Lord and live a self-centered, sinful and worldly life.
(Vs. 16.) The word "know" in this verse means to approve, acknowledge, or esteem. Paul is saying that he values no man from a human point of view, in terms of natural standards. Whether a man be a descendant of Abraham, circumcised, learned, rich, gifted, or weak, he regards no man with respect to any fleshly consideration. Christ has taken away all distinctions of the flesh and brought us into a spiritual kingdom (Col. 3:10, 11). Christ was once a man, walked perfectly upon this earth and we did esteem him as such, but we have other thoughts and apprehensions of him now. He is our exalted Saviour and Redeemer, whose kingdom is not of this world. We do not make images and pictures of Christ as a man and use them in worship, but we love and worship him in spirit and truth (Phil. 3:3);
(Vs. 17.) "If any person is in Christ," not in religion, in the church, or in moral reformation, but in Christ, by faith in Christ, by a new birth wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, in Christ through electing love, redeeming grace and a living union, he is "a new creature" (Gal. 6:15). This new creation describes a creation work, not of man but of God (Eph. 2:8-10; Col 3:10). It is a new nature, a new man and a new principle of grace and holiness, which was not there before and is distinct from the old nature, the old man, with which we are born in the flesh (John 3:5, 6; 1:12, 13). Old things are passed away" - the old way of life, which loves and serves the flesh, the old legal righteousness and religion, old companions and acquaintances, old desires for riches, honour and human philosophic, and old foolish thoughts of God, self and future glory. The new man thinks and acts from new principles, new rules, with new goals and objectives and in a new fellowship. He has a new commandment of love, a new name, a new song in his mouth, even praise to God, a new and living way opened by the blood of Christ, and an inheritance in the new heavens and new earth. In the new creation absolutely nothing of the flesh is needed, used, nor continued. Our Lord said, "Behold, I make all things new."