Printed scripture text: II Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1-10
The apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth, telling them of a future hope forever with Christ. The church was wondering about how they are to deal with persecution and death. Because they are faithfully following God, shouldn’t He protect them from these harsh realities? Paul tells them that their harsh realities are nothing compared to the glory that awaits them in heaven after death. He compares the earthly body with the heavenly body. The earthly is a temporal tent, while the heavenly is a permanent building. So he encourages the believers, that even in the midst of trouble, turmoil and tribulations, they are insignificant compare to our future glory. One day believers will receive a heavenly body that will last forever.
- Light Suffering (II Corinthians 4:16-18)
- New Clothing (II Corinthians 5:1-5)
- Confident Living (II Corinthians 5:6-10)
Paul compared the suffering he had experienced, severe as they were, to light and momentary troubles, troubles and hardships. He saw these as nothing in view of the eternal glory that would be his with Christ. His saw his suffering as temporary and limited. For this reason, we don’t give up because our earthly bodies are perishing and slowly dissolving. Rather look not at the troubles we see now, but at those things that we can’t see. For the things we see now will soon be gone; but the things we cannot see will last forever, because they are eternal. Let us live our lives with eternity’s values in view.
Paul tells the church that one day they will receive new clothing. He compares the human body as material that over time wears out and decays. But the heavenly body is different and is not subject to decay or wearing out. The new clothes he’s referring to is our heavenly glorified bodies, a building of God. We have insight for our future with Christ, and our souls will be housed in our glorified bodies. We won’t have any need to groan, because God promised us an eternal home with Him in heaven. Let us look forward to putting on our new clothes and being in God’s presence forever.
Paul concludes with encouraging us with the reality that death doesn’t separate us from God. He says to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord. We cannot live in both our temporary and eternal bodies at the same time. But while we are in these earthly bodies, we are absent from the Lord. Although, we would rather be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. The good news for all believers, is that whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please God. Because one day we all shall stand before God to be judged and receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our earthly bodies. Let us prepare to stand before the Lord and receive rewards from Him.