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Commentary on The Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

1:1 an apostle: A messenger of the gospel commissioned directly by Christ (Acts 26:12-18) and a witness of his Resurrection (1 Cor 9:1). Throughout this letter Paul asserts and defends his apostolic authority against those who have challenged it. He was established in this office by God's will and call, not by his own recommendation (2 Cor 1:21; 2:17). Timothy: A faithful companion of Paul (Acts 16:1-3) and a familiar figure to the Corinthians (Acts 18:5; 1 Cor 4:17). See note on 1 Tim 1:2. the Church of God: The local community in Corinth, which is an integral part of the universal Church. Paul himself is the founder of this congregation (Acts 18:1-11). Achaia: A Roman province in southern Greece whose capital city was Corinth. Paul is writing just north of Achaia in the province of Macedonia (2:13; 7:5). Back to text.

1:2 Grace to you and peace: A standard Pauline greeting. See note on 1 Cor 1:3Back to text.

1:3-7 Paul's opening prayer blesses God the Father for the mercies and comforts he pours out upon his children in need. He not only comforts them with inner consolation but also gives them strength to endure every hardship. The divine comfort that Paul receives overflows to benefit the Corinthians undergoing their own afflictions (1:6-7). • Paul's benediction resembles an OT prayer form that blesses Yahweh for his greatness and thanks him for rescuing the righteous from mortal dangers (1 Chron 29:10-13; Ps 28:6; 66:20; 124:6). Back to text.

1:5 Christ's sufferings: The mission of the believer is to become like Christ, which means patiently enduring life's most unbearable pain and suffering (Phil 1:29; 1 Pet 2:21). Paul and his missionary team experienced such hardships on a routine basis (2 Cor 4:8-12; 11:23-33). Back to text.

1:7 unshaken: A timely note of encouragement. Despite Paul's strained relationship with the Corinthians in the past, he remains confident in their present loyalty to the gospel. Back to text.

1:8 in Asia: A Roman province in western Turkey. The affliction Paul suffered in this region is otherwise unknown to us, although some think he is alluding to the riot in Ephesus in Acts 19:23-20:1. Whatever the trial, it proved to be a learning experience for Paul, helping him to trust more in God and less in himself. Back to text.

1:11 help us by prayer: Christians united with Christ are also united with one another. This communion of the saints enables them to pray for other believers in need and solicit divine blessings for them. When the Lord answers these prayers, we have further cause for praising him (9:12) (CCC 2634-36). Back to text.

1:12 our conscience: Paul defends his sincerity against accusers who apparently questioned his motives for pursuing apostolic work. not by earthly wisdom: Paul's gospel does not stem from human ingenuity but from God, who revealed it through Christ. The marked difference between worldly knowledge and the wisdom of God was earlier explained in 1 Cor 1:18-4:7. See word study: Wisdom at 1 Cor 1:20. Back to text.

1:14 day of the Lord Jesus: Some ancient manuscripts read "our Lord" instead of "the Lord". The day in question is the Day of Judgment, when Christ will scrutinize the thoughts, words, and deeds of all people and nations (5:10). For the background and theology that underlie this Pauline expression, See note on 1 Cor 1:8Back to text.

1:15 a double pleasure: Refers to Paul's original plan to visit the Corinthians on his way "to" and "from" the province of Macedonia (1:16). Because tensions were high after a painful, emergency visit (2:1), he changed his itinerary and chose not to visit them again after being in Macedonia. He apparently traveled straight back to Asia Minor (Troas, 2:12) instead of making his intended return. Back to text.

1:16 to Judea: i.e., to deliver funds collected for poor Christians in Jerusalem (chaps. 8-9; Rom 15:25-27). Back to text.

1:17 Was I vacillating . . . ?: Critics charged Paul with being fickle because he altered his travel schedule from his original plan to make two visits to Corinth (1:16). Paul in fact was not fluctuating between Yes and No, as though he were unpredictable or double-minded, but he was making all decisions in the best interests of the Corinthians. In this case, he wished to avoid (1:23) another confrontational visit (2:1) and so withdrew until tensions were eased. See note on 2 Cor 1:15Back to text.

1:19 Silvanus and Timothy and I: The original founders of the Corinthian Church (Acts 18:1-18). Silvanus is also known as "Silas" (Acts 18:5). Back to text.

1:21-22 Paul traces the blessings of the Christian life back to the Trinity—God the Father established us in Christ the Son and filled our hearts with the living Spirit. Notice that Paul also ends the letter with a trinitarian benediction (13:14). Back to text.

1:21 commissioned us: Literally, "anointed us". As Jesus the Messiah ("Anointed One") was anointed with the Spirit (Acts 10:38), so Christians share in the anointing of the same Spirit through the Sacraments (1 Jn 2:20, 27). Back to text.

1:22 his seal: An inward stamp of divine ownership. Seals in the ancient world were often impressed in clay or wax by a king, queen, or royal official as a sign of authority, identifying the owner of property or the sender of a letter (1 Kings 21:8; Esther 8:8-10; Dan 6:17). • Paul's teaching points to the indelible "character" imprinted on souls who receive Baptism and Confirmation. This spiritual mark entitles them to God's grace and protection, while its permanent effect makes it impossible to receive these Sacraments of Initiation more than once (CCC 1272-74, 1296). guarantee: A commercial term for a "pledge" or "first installment" given in advance of full payment. On earth, believers share in the "first fruits" of the Spirit (Rom 8:23) as they await the full inheritance of divine life and blessing in heaven (2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:14) (CCC 735, 1107). Back to text.

1:23 I call God to witness: An oath formula calling on God to confirm the reliability of personal testimony (Rom 1:9; Phil 1:8). Even God could bear witness that Paul's decision to cancel one of his scheduled visits to Corinth was motivated by love, i.e., it was to spare them an inevitable confrontation by giving them time to repent and to be reconciled with him (CCC 2154). Back to text.

2:1 another painful visit: Paul made a hurried and unpleasant visit to Corinth between writing 1 Cor and sending 2 Cor. This must have been the apostle's second visit to Corinth, since he expects to come again for a "third" time (12:14; 13:1). See introduction: Destination. Back to text.

2:3 I wrote: Several times Paul refers to a previous letter of "anguish" and "tears" that he sent to reprimand the Corinthians (2 Cor 2:4, 9; 7:8, 12). This may have been 1 Corinthians but is more likely a personal letter that has not survived. Some think the substance of this correspondence is preserved in chaps. 10-13, although arguments for this view remain conjectural. Back to text.

Word Study

Amen (2 Cor 1:20)

Amen (Gk.): means "so be it", "so it is", or "truly". Behind it stands a Hebrew term that conveys a sense of firmness or reliability. The term "Amen" appears frequently in the OT, where it is pronounced to confirm a divine oath or curse (Num 5:22; Deut 27:15), attest to the greatness of God (1 Chron 16:36; Neh 8:6), or express a prayerful wish (Tob 8:8). A double "Amen" concludes the first, second, and third divisions of the Psalter (Ps 41:13; 72:19; 89:52). In the NT, "Amen" is a liturgical response arising from the congregation in both the earthly (1 Cor 14:16) and heavenly liturgies (Rev 5:14; 7:12). It expresses a firm belief in God's revealed truth and often comes at the end of doxologies that extol his glory (Rom 11:36; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21). To say "Amen" is to desire God's promises to be fulfilled and to trust that they will be (2 Cor 1:20). Christ is called the "Amen" because he embodies the reliability and covenant faithfulness of God (Rev 3:14). Jesus often uses this expression as an abbreviated oath formula to insist that his words are incontrovertible declarations of truth (Mt 5:18; 18:3; Jn 1:51) (CCC 1061-65).

2:5-11 These verses hint that Paul's "painful visit" to Corinth (2:1) had something to do with an individual (such a one, 2:6; 7:12). The identity of this offender remains a mystery. Ancient commentators identified him as the incestuous man of 1 Cor 5:1-5 who was excommunicated for his shameful behavior. Modern commentators tend to view him as an outspoken critic who slandered and insulted Paul while the rest of the Church stood by in silence. Whatever the precise nature of his crime, the Corinthians are urged to forgive and restore him to their fellowship. Back to text.

2:7 or he may be overwhelmed: Paul warns that "Satan" (2:11) can turn the experience of church discipline into an occasion for despair. For this reason, remedial punishment for sinners should not be excessively harsh or indefinitely prolonged but should always leave the door open for sincere repentance. Paul warns believers of the devil's schemes more often in 2 Cor than in any of his other letters (4:4; 6:15; 11:3, 14; 12:7). Back to text.

2:12 Troas: A port city on the Aegean coast of modern Turkey (Acts 16:8-10; 20:5-6). Back to text.

2:13 Titus: One of Paul's trusted companions. He was sent to Corinth by the apostle to deliver the letter of "tears" (2:4) and to help resolve the crisis in the Church there. Because Paul was anxious to hear back from Titus, he went to Macedonia (northern Greece) in hopes of intercepting him on his way back to Asia Minor. According to 7:5-16, Titus brought encouraging news. Most of the Corinthians responded to Paul's letter with contrition and returned to him their full confidence and support. Back to text.

2:14-7:4 Paul makes a long digression to explain the significance of his apostolic ministry. He resumes the story of Titus' mission and return in 7:5. Some take this digression as evidence that a separate letter has been incorporated into the text; however, there is no evidence for such an insertion in the surviving manuscripts of 2 Cor, and digressions are common enough in ancient letters to suffice as an explanation for the momentary shift in subject matter. Back to text.

2:14-16 Paul rejoices that the gospel is being disseminated, like the fragrance of incense, throughout the world as a result of his ministry. It emits the sweet aroma of eternal life to believers on the way to salvation and the stench of death to those who are headed for spiritual ruin. • The terms fragrance and aroma are drawn from OT passages that describe the pleasing odor of sacrifices offered to the Lord (Gen 8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 1:9; Num 15:3). They are also used together in Sir 24:15 to illustrate how the wisdom of Yahweh, embodied in the Mosaic Law, spreads throughout Israel. Paul reinterprets this in light of the New Covenant, where the ministers of the gospel offer themselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:1) and spread the wisdom of the gospel throughout the world (Col 1:23) (CCC 1294). Back to text.

2:16 Who is sufficient . . . ?: Implied answer: Paul, but only on the basis of God's commission (1:21; 2:17; 3:5-6). Back to text.

2:17 not, like so many, peddlers: Refers to the missionary intruders in Corinth, later called "false apostles" (11:13). Paul exposes their hidden agenda, calling them salesmen of the gospel who preach, not for the glory of God, but for the sake of personal profit. Paul is exempt from such a charge since he accepts no financial support at all from the Corinthians (11:711; 1 Cor 9:7-15). See introduction: Destination. Back to text.

3:1 letters of recommendation: Written referrals were sometimes sent ahead of traveling missionaries to prepare for their arrival in a new Church (Acts 18:27; Rom 16:1; 1 Cor 16:3). Apparently Paul's opponents furnished such resumes for themselves and misled the Corinthians into thinking they were genuine apostles (2 Cor 10:12). In contrast, Paul does not need to reestablish rapport in Corinth by written statements (5:12) but can point to the Church's conversion as proof that his ministry is authentic (Acts 18:1-18). Back to text.

Word Study

Leads Us in Triumph (2 Cor 2:14)

Thriambeuō (Gk.): means "to lead in triumphal procession". The verb is used twice in the NT and has its background in the Roman practice of marching prisoners of war through city streets following a successful military campaign. Spoils of war were displayed during the parade while captives were led along in disgrace and sometimes executed at the end of the march. These ceremonies were intended to honor the god (Jupiter) who gave them victory and the Roman general responsible for commanding the troops. Paul's use of the triumphal imagery is twofold. In Col 2:15, the demonic powers are disarmed and disgraced by the conquering Christ like prisoners of war. In 2 Cor 2:14, the metaphor is more difficult to interpret, since apostles rather than enemies are led forth in triumph. Either Paul pictures the apostles as captives of Christ who are taunted and sometimes killed in the streets of the unbelieving world, or perhaps they are the soldiers who participate in the celebration of Christ's triumph over sin and evil.

3:2 on your hearts: The very lives of the Corinthians are a legible witness that Paul is a true apostle who mediates the Spirit (1:22; Gal 3:2-5). Some scholars prefer the variant reading "on our hearts" (textual note c). Back to text.

3:3 the Spirit: Engraved on the tablet of the believing heart. This divine work is even more magnificent than the writing of the Ten Commandments on stone (Ex 31:18). • Paul is drawing from two prophecies about the messianic age. Writing on the heart evokes Jeremiah's promise that God will ratify a new covenant and inscribe his law on the hearts of his people (Jer 31:31-34). The contrast between stone and human hearts evokes Ezekiel's promise that God will replace the stony hearts of his people with fleshly hearts that are ready to obey him through the Spirit (Ezek 11:19; 36:26-27). Back to text.

3:5 our sufficiency is from God: Paul makes no claim to be qualified for apostleship apart from God's grace (2:17). This is in marked contrast to the false apostles, who display their credentials with written documentation (3:1; 10:12). • Paul is alluding to the call of Moses in the Greek version of Ex 4:10. Like Moses, who complains that his poor speaking ability makes him unfit to be a prophet, Paul sees himself as "unskilled in speaking" (2 Cor 11:6). Nevertheless, he is confident that the grace of God more than compensates for his personal weaknesses (12:9-10). See word study: Unskilled at 2 Cor 11:6. Back to text.

3:6 new covenant: Sealed by the redeeming work of Jesus and made present in the Eucharist (Lk 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25). the written code: Literally, "the letter", set in contrast to "the Spirit". • Tradition has understood the Pauline antithesis between letter and Spirit in two different ways. (1) Some read it as a historical contrast between two economies of salvation. The Law of Moses is the letter, which commands us but does not assist us, bringing death and condemnation upon the disobedient. But the Spirit, by a supernatural action of grace, gives us life and blessing along with the moral help we need to obey the Law. Proponents of this view include Tertullian, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and St. Ephrem. (2) Others read it as a hermeneutical contrast between the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture. The literal sense of the OT describes things and events of the past, which are shadows and types of the gospel, but these remain lifeless apart from their fulfillmen in Christ. The spiritual sense reveals the spiritual realities of the messianic age that bring us life and grace, realities foretold by the letter but now made present through the Spirit of Christ. Proponents of this view include Origen, St. Athanasius, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Cyril of Alexandria (CCC 115-18, 1094). Back to text.

3:7-18 The New Covenant ministry of Paul supersedes the Old Covenant ministry of Moses, for he mediates righteousness through the Spirit, not condemnation through the uncompromising standards of the Law. Note that a single Greek term is translated by several different English words throughout this chapter (splendor, 3:7-11; brightness, 3:7; glory, 3:18). Back to text.

3:7 Moses' face: A reference to Ex 34:29-35, where the glory of God shone from the face of Moses and frightened the Israelites. Most scholars understand Paul this way: Moses veiled himself to prevent Israel from seeing the radiance of his face fade away over time. The gradual disappearance of this brightness, hidden behind the veil, symbolizes the destiny of the Old Covenant, which will itself pass away (2 Cor 3:13). Back to text.

3:11 permanent: Only the glory of the New Covenant is everlasting. It makes all previous covenants comparatively "old" (3:14). Back to text.

3:14 that same veil: The divine meaning of Scripture is veiled from unbelieving Israel, just as the divine radiance was veiled from wayward Israel back in Moses' day. The idea is that Paul's kinsmen read the OT without understanding that it points the way to Christ (Lk 24:44-47; Rom 10:1-4). Back to text.

3:15 Moses is read: I.e., the Torah is read weekly in the synagogues (Acts 15:21). Back to text.

3:16 turns to the Lord: Recalls how Moses removed the L veil every time he turned to the Lord to receive a new revelation (Ex 34:34). For Paul, this prefigures Christian conversion, which involves turning to the Lord to embrace the new revelation of the gospel. Back to text.

3:17 the Lord is the Spirit: The Spirit is fully divine, coequal in glory and greatness with the Father and the Son (3:18). His work within us gives us freedom from the condemnation of the Old Covenant (Rom 8:1) and boldness to proclaim the gospel without fear (2 Cor 3:12; Rom 1:16). The title "Lord" is also shared by Christ (2 Cor 4:5) and God the Father (Gen 2:4, etc.) (CCC 693, 1741). Back to text.

3:18 being changed: Like Moses, whose countenance was transformed by gazing on the glory of the Lord (Ex 34:29). The glory of the Spirit changes believers little by little into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), who is the image of God (2 Cor 4:4). In the theology of Paul, formation in the likeness of Jesus includes suffering and dying (Rom 8:17; Phil 3:10) as well as rising to immortal life (Rom 8:11; Phil 3:21) (CCC 1701). • Images of the People of God radiating with glory can be found in Ps 34:5 and Is 60:5. Back to text.

4:1 we do not lose heart: God's grace enables Paul to endure opposition and hardships no matter how difficult (12:9). Back to text.

4:2 disgraceful, underhanded ways: Probably an allusion to the tactics of the "false apostles" (11:14). Paul appeals to the consciences of the Corinthians as proof that he has always been honest and straightforward in his preaching, despite false accusations of being "crafty" (12:16). Back to text.

4:4 the god of this world: Satan, the chief enemy of God and his people. He is the unseen spirit that deceives men, hardens their hearts, and blinds them to the saving news of the gospel (1 Jn 5:19; Rev 20:2-3). Although defeated by Christ on the Cross (Heb 2:14), he still operates in the present age before his final demise at the end of time (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10). Back to text.

4:6 Let light shine out: A paraphrase of Gen 1:3. • Paul views conversion as the beginning of a new creation (5:17). The transformation we experience in Christ thus parallels the transformation effected by the word of God when he first dispelled the darkness with light at the dawn of history. This was already hinted at by Isaiah, who developed the theme of light's victory over darkness as a sign of salvation (Is 9:2; 49:6; 60:1-3). Paul experienced this firsthand when the blinding light of Christ knocked him to the ground on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3; 26:13) (CCC 2583). Back to text.

4:7 in earthen vessels: At present, our human bodies are frail and corruptible, like jars made of clay. The difference between earthenware and treasure points to the distinction between the perishable nature of our bodies and the imperishable riches of grace they contain. Paul fills others with this treasure through his ministry of preaching and administering the Sacraments (CCC 1420). • Paul is using a cultic expression from the OT that refers to the sacred vessels in which sin offerings were cooked (Lev 6:28). In a similar way, we carry the sacrificial "death of Jesus" (2 Cor 4:10) in our suffering bodies. See note on 2 Cor 5:21Back to text.

4:8-11 The grace of apostleship safeguards Paul against despair. Although in constant distress, he is not shattered or overcome by anxiety as a result of it. Hardships conform us to Christ when we follow his example of suffering (Phil 1:29; 1 Pet 2:21), while endurance is inspired by the hope of resurrection (2 Cor 4:14; Heb 11:35). Back to text.

4:12 but life in you: The sacrifices of Paul are united with the sacrifice of Jesus and, for this reason, unleash the blessings of God (Col 1:24). As Christ's death brought life to the world, so the apostle's ministry of daily "dying" becomes a channel of life for others as well. Back to text.

4:13 I believed, and so I spoke: A citation from the Greek I version of Ps 116:10. • Psalm 116 is a hymn of thanksgiving in which David recalls his faith in Yahweh during times of distress and remembers how he was rescued. Paul and the other apostles share this faith that God will deliver them from mortal dangers—and even death itself—and expect to thank him in return. See note on 2 Cor 1:3-7Back to text.

4:16 wasting away: Although death gradually overtakes our body (outer man) through privations, injuries, and aging, our soul (inner man) is increasingly enlivened by the Spirit. Only at the future resurrection will our bodies share in this inward renewal when they too are made alive and glorious. See note on 1 Cor 15:42-44Back to text.

4:17 weight of glory: Alludes to the Hebrew notion of "glory" (kabod), which is conceptualized as the heaviness of God's Divine Being. beyond all comparison: The trials and tribulations of life, and even its most crushing misfortunes, will fade into nothing when the glory of heaven dawns on the saints (Rom 8:18). • Paul endured many unbearable hardships as light burdens, not because they were light in themselves, but because he knew they were borne for the sake of the Lord. Joined with the expectation of future glory, the love of God lessens the intensity of our troubles and prevents us from having any sense of them (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 25, 17). Back to text.

4:18 things that are unseen: The invisible blessings that await us in heaven are infinite and permanent, unlike the finite and perishable goods of this world. This glory is perceived by faith, yearned for with hope, and finally attained by our love for God and neighbor (Rom 5:1-5; 8:22-25; Heb 11:1). Back to text.

5:1 tent . . . building: A contrast between mortal bodies and resurrected bodies. • An earthly tent is synonymous with a "perishable body" also in Wis 9:15. Beyond this, Paul has in mind the distinction between the Mosaic Tabernacle, a flimsy and temporary sanctuary used during Israel's trek through the wilderness, and the Solomonic Temple, a building that became the permanent dwelling of God in Jerusalem. This transition from tent to building in biblical history helps to illustrate how our mortal bodies will give way to immortal ones on the last day (1 Cor 15:42-44). not made with hands: See essay: Not Made with Hands at 2 Cor 5. Back to text.

5:4 further clothed: Paul envisions a future life for Christians that is physical and yet immortal. In heaven we will be neither stripped of our bodies (unclothed) nor burdened with their present weaknesses (mortal). We will instead be fitted with glorified bodies made ready for heavenly life (1 Cor 15:5155; Phil 3:20-21). This teaching runs directly against the then-prevalent Greek notion that disembodiment in the next life was the ideal state of existence to be hoped for. For the heavenly state of believers between death and the resurrection of the body, see note on 2 Cor 5:8Back to text.

5:5 as a guarantee: Our possession of the Spirit is a down payment on the full inheritance awaiting us in heaven. See note on 2 Cor 1:22Back to text.

5:7 we walk by faith: A rule of the Christian life on earth, where Christ is present but hidden in the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and our souls. Only in eternity will our faith give way to the vision of God "face to face" (1 Cor 13:12) (CCC 163-64). See note on 2 Cor 4:18Back to text.

5:8 away from the body: The intermediate state between bodily death and bodily resurrection. During this temporary phase, the souls of the righteous enjoy the presence of God even though their bodies lie buried in a grave (CCC 1005, 1021). It is important to note that, for Paul, absence from the body does not mean our presence with the Lord will be automatic or immediate. Judgment is the first thing to follow death, and for the saints whose works are judged imperfect, a process of spiritual purification will be needed before they enter the fullness of glory. For more on the transitional state of Purgatory, see note on 1 Cor 3:15Back to text.

5:9-10 In order to possess Christ in heaven we must strive to please him on earth. On the Day of Judgment, he will review every one of our thoughts, words, and deeds performed in the body (Mt 25:31-46). See note on Rom 2:6Back to text.

5:10 good or evil: Seems to envision rewards and penalties for the faithful departed, as in 1 Cor 3:12-15. Back to text.

5:12 those who pride themselves: I.e., Paul's critics in Corinth. They are preoccupied with his position (outward appearance), not with the more important intentions of his heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7). Back to text.

5:13 beside ourselves: Although interpretations of this saying are debated, it probably means one of two things. (1) Paul's exceptional zeal for the gospel was viewed by his opponents as madness (Acts 26:24), despite the fact that he was always reasonable and moderate with the Corinthians themselves. (2) Paul's charismatic experiences, while times of intense communion with God, did not benefit the Corinthians as much as his sober instruction and spiritual guidance (12:1-7; 1 Cor 14:18-19). Back to text.

5:14 the love of Christ urges us on: The sacrificial love of Christ displayed on the Cross was overwhelming to Paul as it should be to us (Rom 5:8). This same divine love is poured into our hearts through the Spirit (Rom 5:5) and urges us to spread it among others by word and example (Jn 15:12-13) (CCC 851). Back to text.

5:15 no longer for themselves: Christians are born to a new life of grace that enables them to conquer selfishness and the tendency to live solely for private, personal interests. Purchased for God at the price of Christ's blood (1 Cor 6:20), believers should strive to live the rest of their days for him (CCC 655, 1269). Back to text.

5:16 according to the flesh: According to some, this implies that Paul knew the historical Jesus during his earthly ministry. More likely, Paul is claiming that life in the Spirit brings a new perception of things, more penetrating than natural reason (1 Cor 2:12-15). Whereas the crucified Christ appears dead and defeated from a human viewpoint, from a spiritual viewpoint his Cross is a powerful sign of victory and life. Back to text.

5:17 a new creation: Baptism transfers us from the bondage of sin and slavery to the blessings of salvation and sonship. The New Covenant thus begins a new order in history where creation is steadily renewed, beginning with our souls and extending into every corner of the cosmos (Rom 8:1925; Rev 21:1-5). Christ does not destroy the old order of creation but heals it, perfects it, and elevates it with supernatural life (CCC 1214, 1265). • The prophets of Israel envisioned this renewal far in advance of Christ's coming. Isaiah announced that Yahweh would restore the world, beginning with Israel (Is 42:6-9; 43:18-21; 65:17; 66:22). Other oracles foretold a return to the conditions of creation in Eden before sin and decay entered in (Is 51:3; Ezek 36:33-35). Back to text.

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