Written by Dave Lenehan
If you’ve ever studied either of the apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, you know they are PACKED with incredible theology, encouragement, insight and tools equipping us as followers of Christ. As I’ve been reading them again recently, I encountered some incredible passages from a fresh perspective.
2 Corinthians 5:4-7 is one of those sets of verses. Read what Paul pens to his beloved church…remembering that this is actually Paul’s third letter to Christians in Corinth…his actual second one having been lost in history:
“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.” (NIV)
I think that phrase “but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling” is intriguing. It reminds me of Psalm 139:5 where King David notes that God, “hems me in behind and before…” To be clothed in Jesus is a pretty amazing thing. But we are not just putting on a Christian outfit or uniform per se, but our very being, who we truly are is becoming – more and more each day – like Jesus. Think of a hem in a pair of jeans. It’s solid, it takes a bit of work to tear it out; it’s not going to fall off as easily as, say, a button. God in essence sews us into Himself – we become a permanent part of Him…not easily tossed aside, not temporary.
And what is the clothing Paul talks about? HEAVEN – in other words…our hope is heaven, our ‘goal’ is heaven, our home is heaven…we are to put that mindset on more and more each day. This earthly ‘tent’ that Paul writes about is only temporary…and yes, I think you would agree, it’s often full of burdens, worries, problems, etc.
But the beautiful thing is that we are not stuck in our earthly tent or earthly outfit. Nope. God has made an eternal deposit on the bank of our life…the Holy Spirit ‘guaranteeing what is to come.’ I love what Paul writes in chapter 4:16-18:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”(NIV)
So if this week you are getting hit in the face or racked in the brain with some of the troubles of this earthly tent…as the Christians in Corinth were….remember that not only are those things temporary…but as a Christian you have the guarantee of heaven…it’s a confident guarantee – nothing doubtful about it. God guaranteed it already. What an amazing hope that bring us.
Live in THAT – clothe yourself daily in THAT knowledge. Enjoy your day and may I encourage you to read 1 & 2 Corinthians soon.