2 Corinthians 5:15
And that he died for all, that they which live should not from now on live to themselves, but to him which died for them…
"Henceforth know we no man after the flesh." In these words St. Paul is evidently contrasting the view he had been accustomed to entertain respecting his fellow-men before his conversion to Christ, with that he took now that he had been brought under the influence of Christian truth. Then he estimated men "after the flesh," i.e., he judged them by earthly standards. These were the questions he would doubtless have asked himself respecting any upon whom he wished to pass judgment: What is his descent? Where has he been instructed? Has he passed through the schools of philosophy sitting at Gamaliel's feet? What are his professions? Does he fast twice a week? But now that he had been brought into contact with Christ Jesus, and had become the recipient of His salvation, he estimated men according to a very different standard. Then, "after the flesh," but now after the spirit. And these, we may reasonably suppose, are the inquiries which would rise within him: Have they the spirit of Christ? Are their hearts right in the sight of God? Do they love and practice the principles of the gospel of peace? This twofold method of estimating men prevails still. If you judge men after the flesh, the undoubted effect will be to narrow and to contract your sympathies. Adopting such a test as this, society will necessarily be broken up into fragments, each caring only for itself; the man of rank caring only for those of noble descent, the man of wealth for those of large possessions, or the man of culture for those of educated tastes, while the mass of those who possess none of the enrichments will be left to themselves. Only let men be judged, not "after the flesh," but according to their character, and large-heartedness, and world-embracing love will take the place of that exclusiveness which the opposite course engenders. "The Lord looketh at the heart." He recognised in the fallen those who were capable of being raised from their degradation, and of loving and serving Him in holiness and righteousness. And beholding thus their moral and spiritual capabilities, His heart yearned for their uplifting. The fulness of time at length arrived. Or think of St. Paul. He resolved that he would henceforth judge men after their character, and not after the flesh, and the effect of this decision was that he saw some around him who had clearly become renewed in the spirit of their minds — who had become new creatures in Christ Jesus. And even so with ourselves, if we only view men in the light of their spiritual character and capacities, the effect will unquestionably be that we shall find among all classes in society men whose lives are marked by the principles of righteousness, and beholding what "the truth as it is in Jesus" has wrought for them, and conscious that it can effect similar results wherever it is received, we shall be constrained to labour for its extension throughout the world, that thus the entire moral aspect of the universe may be changed, the desert rejoicing and blossoming as the rose, earth becoming like heaven. And thus we see theft the religion of Christ calls forth the sympathy and love of men towards the entire race to which they. belong. The apostle adds: "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." In this early Church gathered in the city of Corinth there were several parties. In condemning the divisions which had thus arisen, the apostle uses the words: "Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ." Now the question is naturally suggested, what could be the meaning of any who said, "I am of Christ." It would appear that the persons who said this were converts from Judaism, and who claimed some special relationship to Christ, arising from the fact that they had seen Him when He sojourned upon earth. We are now prepared to apprehend the meaning of St. Paul in the words before us. He felt theft he might as justly as any of them rejoice in having seen Christ in the flesh; but he would not, in that he felt there was a far higher view of Christ than that of gazing upon His outward form, even the apprehension by faith of the spiritual presence of the Redeemer; the contemplation of His character and spirit, and the so beholding of this as to enter into it, and to be changed into the same from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. It was after this that his noble spirit aspired. It must not be supposed that the apostle was indifferent to the great fact of the humanity of the Son of God; indeed, is there any writer, save the Evangelist John, who refers more frequently or touchingly to this than St. Paul? Does he not remind the Galatians how that in the fulness of time, "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman," etc. And, in this respect, the apostle presents a worthy pattern to us. Like him, let us not look so much to that which is material, as to that which is spiritual in relation to Christ Jesus. It behoves us, therefore, to be careful that we do not lose sight of that spiritual apprehension of the Saviour which alone can meet the requirements, and satisfy the aspirations of the soul of man. It is even so. He is the eternal One. He is the very Son of God. And having been made perfect through suffering, He has entered into His glory. His humiliation is past, and He is now exalted at God's right hand. The kingly diadem encircles His brow. We have known Him after the flesh, battling with poverty, and with temptation and sin, with woe and death, but henceforth we know Him thus no more. He is the victor now — the King of glory.
(S. D. Hillman.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.