What does 2 Corinthians 5:19 mean?
ESV: that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
NIV: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
NASB: namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
CSB: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
NLT: For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
KJV: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
NKJV: that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Verse Commentary:
In describing and defending his ministry to the Corinthians, Paul is describing God's new work in the world. The old has gone, Paul has written. The new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). That "new" is Christ. More specifically, all who trust in Christ's death in their place, for their sin, will be given a gift of God's grace: credit for Jesus' righteous life. Being "in Christ" in this way will cause the old separation between themselves and God to be removed. They will be reconciled to Him.

Paul wrote in the previous verse that God reconciled Paul and his co-workers to Himself in Christ in this way and then immediately gave them the ministry of telling others about it. For Paul, this happened when Christ called his name while he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).

What is the "message of reconciliation" that Paul and his co-workers had been entrusted with by God? Put most simply, it is this: God is not counting the sins of those who are "in Christ" against them. Those sins once stood between every person and God as an obstacle that could not be moved (Romans 3:23). Christ removed the obstacle by paying the price for each believer's sin with His death. It is unnecessary for us to suffer death for our own sin, or to be permanently separated from God (Romans 6:23). Now all who trust in Christ can be reconciled to God. Paul understood his mission in life to be delivering this message to everyone he could.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 5:11–21 describes an appeal to those in Corinth who know Paul. It's important they understand he is not crazy for continuing to preach the gospel, even though it leads to so much suffering for him. Christ's love compels Paul to continue to tell all people that they be reconciled to God through faith in Christ, just as he was. In Christ, God is not counting people's sins against them, but instead giving them credit for Christ's righteous life. As Christ's ambassador, Paul begged all people to be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.
Chapter Summary:
Why does Paul endure so much suffering for preaching about Christ? He continues here his discussion of eternity, comparing our earthly bodies to living in a tent. Paul would rather live in the eternal body God has prepared for those who trust in Christ, free from the groaning and burden that afflicts everyone here. With that to look forward to, he preaches with courage that all in Christ are new creations. In Christ, God is reconciling people to Himself, not counting their sin against them. Paul implores everyone to be reconciled to God in this way through faith in Christ.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 5 follows Paul's confident declarations in the previous chapter. His suffering, though severe, is only a light, momentary affliction preparing him for eternal glory beyond all comparison. He would rather occupy his eternal body, which gives him the courage to continue his mission to preach the gospel that God is reconciling people to Himself, forgiving their sin, through faith in Christ. Those in Christ become a new creation. He concludes by imploring all to be reconciled to God, which he continues to do in the following chapter.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
Accessed 5/20/2024 9:20:19 PM
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