The love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NASB).
The word translated control in this verse is a hard one to translate in a single word, because it has a lot of meaning.
I have, for many years, used the Wuest Expanded Translation. Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar, translates each word in the New Testament in its fullest expression, without any thought of form.
Here is his translation of these verses. Notice, in the highlights, how he translates the single word control:
The love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive, having brought me to this conclusion, namely, that One died on behalf of all, therefore all died, and that He also died on behalf of all in order that those who are living no longer are living for themselves but for the One who died on their behalf and instead of them, and was raised.
For Paul, Christ’s extreme and perfect unselfishness was the motivation for the same. Christ died for all … and He did this for a purpose: “so that” we would no longer be in bondage to a self-centered, self-focused life.
The Prison of Selfishness
There is nothing more blinding and confining than a selfish life.
A selfish man thinks of everything in terms of one person—what it will do for him, how it can advance him or please him, what people will think of him. The iron bars of self-centeredness wrap tightly around him, confining him to the small world within.
When a man, liberated by the love of Christ, is set free from this self-absorption, the world is opened to him.
Now his eyes lift up to God, and he can spend his life exploring the limitless wonders of the Almighty, the beauty of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. He thinks of everything in light of how it will please this majestic Three-in-One and advance God’s kingdom.
Further, his heart is opened to a world of people around him. In so doing, the same love that compelled Christ now compels him.
He becomes the man who listens to you just because he loves you and wants the best for you. He gives everything so you can be helped and advanced. He deeply rejoices when you rejoice and is burdened when you are sorrowful.
He sincerely lives for God and those God has created. His life is filled with unceasing joy, because helping others to Christ is an unceasing task.
And this man—constrained by God’s perfectly unselfish love—is the man with the deepest life, who leaves the deepest mark.