For he saith - That is, God hath said it, by the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 49:8 ; which place the apostle quotes verbatim et literatim from the Septuagint. And from this we may at once see what is the accepted time, and what the day of salvation. The advent of the Messiah was the רצון עת eth ratson , the time of God's pleasure or benevolence, of which all the faithful were in expectation; and the day of salvation, שועה יום yom yeshuah , was the time in which this salvation should be manifested and applied. The apostle therefore informs them that this is the time predicted by the prophet; and the ministry of reconciliation being exercised in full force is a proof that the prophecy is fulfilled; and therefore the apostle confidently asserts, Behold, Now is this accepted time, Now the Messiah reigns, Now is the Gospel dispensation, and therefore Now is the day of salvation; that is, the very time in which the power of God is present to heal, and in which every sinner believing on the Lord Jesus may be saved.
I rather think that this second verse should be read immediately after the last verse of the preceding chapter; as where it now stands it greatly disturbs the connection between the first and the third verses. I will set down the whole in the order in which I think they should stand. 2 Corinthians 5:20 ; : Now then we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. For he hath made him a sin-offering for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him: for he saith, "I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Immediately after this, the sixth chapter will very properly commence, and we shall see that the connection will be then undisturbed: -
We then, as fellow workers, beseech you also, that ye receive not this grace of God in vain, giving no offense in any thing, that this ministry be not blamed. This change of the place of the second verse, which every one allows must, if it stand here, be read in a parenthesis, preserves the whole connection of the apostle's discourse, and certainly sets his argument before us in a stronger light. Let us review the whole: