2 Corinthians 5:11
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest to God…
This text has been denounced as cruel Let us consider its use in secular affairs. A company is about to cross the ocean. The word terror has been suppressed, so they make no provision to escape in case of shipwreck. No life-preserver and no life-boat have been taken on board. The same policy has prevented the erection of lighthouses and the perfection of charts. Now, when out at sea and the storm has come, then they have reason to deplore the mistaken kindness which kept from them a knowledge of the terrors of the deep. The exercise of foresight is the part of wisdom. Knowing the terror, the danger before us, we should be persuaded to make every provision.
I. CONSIDER THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE "THE TERROR OF THE LORD." —
1. There is a majesty about God which is calculated to inspire holy fear. This we realise if we compare God with heathen divinities.
(1) Our God is infinite in wisdom, mercy, justice, and power. Many people have one-sided views of God, and hence fall into great error. Some deem Him all mercy, others all justice; as some have judged the ocean by a day of calm, others by a day of storm. Each view is a one-sided view. We could not revere a God who is all justice, or one who is all mercy.
(2) There are no changes in His attributes. It is the same God we see in the Old Testament as in the New. The New Testament does not utter a sound that dashes with those from Sinai.
2. The context will help us understand the language of the text (ver. 10). God has made us know the dangers in the future that we might avoid them. There was an element of terror in the preaching of the apostles. Felix trembled.
II. "KNOWING, THEREFORE, THE TERROR OF GOD, WE PERSUADE MEN." Knowing the majesty, the holiness of God, and the necessity of the punishment of evil, we persuade men —
1. To abhor sin. There can be no honest repentance save it be founded on hatred of sin.
2. To forsake sin.
3. To flee to Christ for pardon. No man ever came to Saviour until he felt the need of a Saviour. Sinai points you to Calvary.
4. To labour for the salvation of others. It is a great cruelty not to make known the terrible consequences of sin to our fellow-men.
(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.