Beyond The End
A daily devotion for September 12th
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1).
What marvelous words! It is obvious that here is a description of the present body of flesh and bones we live in contrasted with the same body, risen and glorified by the activity of the Spirit of God. When you compare these words with those in 1 Corinthians 15, you can see that Paul is talking here about the resurrected body, that body we shall receive in which he says mortality will be
swallowed up in immortality. He uses the same terminology here. It is the body, he says, that we shall enter
in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed and this new body will be given to us (1 Corinthians 15:52). Here he is contrasting the two. The present body, he says, is like a tent. We are living a temporary experience, as people do when they live in a tent.
I sometimes feel uncomfortable in this tent of my earthly body. I am sure you do, too. A tent is not very satisfying. The stakes begin to loosen, the poles begin to sag, the tent itself sags in various spots, the cold penetrates, and it is not very comfortable. Some of us feel that way as we grow older. But we are looking forward to the resurrection body, the permanent building, that which God had in mind when He made us in the beginning, the permanent dwelling place designed by God without any human help,
a house not made with hands. Nothing human produces it or adds to it; nothing that the undertaker does while our body is being prepared for the grave adds a single thing to what God will do that will produce the body of glory that is to come. The point Paul makes is that it is already ours in eternity.
We have, he says. Notice the present tense: not
We will have.
We have an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands already there, waiting for us to put on.
The apostle says that this new body, the resurrected body, is an experience of not being disembodied but being further embodied. He changes the idiom from the building to the body and says it is like being further clothed, so that it is more than we have at the moment. If you feel like you are clothed by being in a body, then in that body you will feel even more clothed,
further clothed. No one wants to float around in a bodiless existence. Paul says your actual experience will be this:
You will be further clothed upon death as believers. You will have a new body. That is a weight of glory beyond all description, and it will come instantly, for the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God.
I thank You, Lord, that when that moment of glory breaks upon my startled heart, I shall at last see Him whom I have long loved and served.
Life Application: Have we forgotten the expectation and hope of our glorious future, for body, soul and spirit?
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