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God's Promise of An Eternal Dwelling by Victoria Carter

What Does the Text Say?

For we know that if the tent (our physical body) that is our earthly home is destroyed, (death) we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent (our temporary and deteriorating body), we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling (eternal and perfect), if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened - not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal (earthly body) may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. - 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (ESV)

What Does the Text Mean?

The text begins with a motivational promise to believers. We know that when our earthly bodies perish we have a house from God that is not manmade, but eternal. The text contrasts these two dwellings as a tent and a building, one being vulnerable and temporary, the other being strong and secure. As believers, we are guaranteed a permanent and secure body. We see this in Philippians 3:21, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. As a believer, we have the promise of a perfect body, akin to Christ’s body, and this is our motivation while we are here on Earth.

We see also in this text that, while we are in our Earthly bodies, we groan. We groan because our dwelling is perishing. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). As we age, our bodies begin to ache, and our sight and hearing deteriorate. It becomes harder to get around and do the things we did in our youth. In this, we long and look forward to the promise of a perfect body. The Lord, being generous and loving as He is, has given us yet another guarantee! As we await this heavenly dwelling, the Lord has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. We have been bought with the blood of Christ (Galatians 3:13), and the down payment, while we live in this feeble body, is the Holy Spirit.

Knowing these things, we take courage, walking by faith in these promises, and not by sight. We make it our goal, whether at home or away, to please Him, for we know that one day we must all appear before the judgment seat to receive what is due for what we have done in our bodies, good or bad.

How Should We Respond?

Though the text is written to the believer, there are two applications here, one for the believer, and one for the non-believer.

The response of a believer should be to long and look forward to the promise of a perfect body (Philippians 1:21) and to worship the Lord with your time here on Earth by seeking to please Him. We can look forward to great reward according to our good works through Christ here on Earth.

For the non-believer, are you groaning in your earthly body? Are you longing for an eternal hope? The text tells us that the earthly body will perish. Without the free gift of eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection, those who are not saved have no eternal dwelling in heaven. Jesus has offered this same hope of rescue from death and an eternal dwelling in heaven to everyone! Dear friend, if you believe it, you will receive it.

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