In this section of scripture, Paul is again compelled to defend himself and explain his ministry.

Read 2 Cor. 5:12 – Boasting

1. Paul speaks of those who “boast in appearance and not in heart”. What does this mean?

2. Comment on this explanation of verse 12 from Guzik: Though Paul gloried in his weakness, his trials, and his struggles, he doesn’t do it to brag before the  Corinthian Christians. Instead, by telling of his weakness, his trials, and his struggles, Paul wanted to give the Corinthian Christians the opportunity to be proud of him (glory on our behalf).

Read 2 Cor. 5:13-16 – Compelled By God’s Love

1. To be “beside yourself” describes crazy and irrational behavior. This was also said of Paul by Festus in Acts 26:24. Why might people think Paul to be crazy?

2. Whether Paul is thought of as crazy or of sound mind, for whose sake is he ministering the gospel?

3. (vs 14) For the love of Christ compels us, constrains us, urges us forward. What does this mean?

a. Describe the love of Christ.

b. How does the love of Christ compel YOU?

4. (vs 14-15a) Jesus “died for all” in the sense that all people have the opportunity to receive salvation because Jesus died for all. John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 confirm this. But the “all” here probably refers to “all the saved” because it also says “all died”. Those who are born again, who have been made alive in Christ, have rendered the old man dead. What does Rom. 6:6 tell us?

5. (vs 15) Our love for God is expressed in the way we serve others. Compare those who live for themselves with those who live for Jesus.

6. (vs 16) What does it mean to “regard no one according to the flesh?” Why would Paul “regard no one according to the flesh”? (See 2 Cor. 4:18, 5:1, 5:7, 5:12)

7. (vs 16) Who had known Christ according to the flesh?

8. (vs 16) “But now we know Him thus no longer.” What does John 16:7 tell us?

Read 2 Cor. 5:17 – A New Creation

1. If you are a born again Christian, you are “in Christ”. Those who are “in Christ” are new creations. Comment on this Guzik quote: Paul here teaches the great principle of regeneration. Jesus Christ changes those who come to Him by faith and who are in Christ. The saved are not “just forgiven.” They are changed into a new creation.

2. Being a new creation does not mean that we are perfect. What does it mean?

3. Consider this quote: Living as a new creation is something God works in us, using our will and our choices. So, we must both receive the gift of being a new creation and be challenged to live the life of a new creation. All this is God’s work in us that we must submit to. – Spurgeon

Read 2 Cor. 5:18-21 – The Ministry of Reconciliation

1. (vs 18-19) Paul begins this next sentence reminding the Corinthians that the things he speaks of are all from God, not from man. He then goes on to share about the great work of reconciliation. Define reconciliation.

a. In your own words, how have you been reconciled to God? What was required? What was the role of God? Of Jesus? Of you?

b. Verse 19 tells us that our trespasses were not imputed to us. To whom were they imputed? Meditate on this and respond.

2. In turn, what were we given? (vs 18) What was committed to us? (vs 19)

3. (vs 20) As those who have been given this responsibility, Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. What is an ambassador?

a. Given this role, what does Paul say we are to be doing? (vs 20)

b. Have you ever thought that God would be pleading through you? How does verse 20 impact you?

4. In verse 21, “For” means “because”. We have been reconciled to God, and now as ambassadors for Christ, have been given the ministry of reconciliation because:

a. He made Him who _______________________________

b. to be _______________________________

c. That we might become _________________________________________________. AMEN!