Many Christians act like they don’t know what to expect when they die. They live in fear of death when Jesus has conquered death!
22 How long will you who are simple [someone who doesn’t know right from wrong, but is prone toward evil] love your simple ways? How long will mockers [those who know right from wrong but doesn’t care–in fact, will ridicule and even get angry at the righteous] delight in mockery and fools [those who know right from wrong, but choose wrong anyway] hate knowledge?
We have been given wonderful instruction in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 concerning our current bodies and the bodies waiting for us in the kingdom of God. Let’s read it:
5 For 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 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 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. 5 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.
- We live in an earthly tent. It’s also called a vessel (2 Timothy 2:21), a building, and a dwelling. In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, our bodies are referred to as natural and perishable bodies, bodies of dishonor because of sin.
- Our heavenly dwelling and the process of getting there are described in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”
- “Clothed instead of naked” comes from a description of us in the throne room of God. The best illustration is in Matthew 22:11-13, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” We cannot stand in the presence of God in our birthday suits because it has been tainted with sin. It’s not that God cannot look upon sin, but that we will feel utterly out-of-place. Indeed, we will seek to hide from the Holy One (Revelation 6:16). Only by being clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ are we suitable for eternal living (Romans 13:14).
- The Spirit teaches us about what is to come and reminds us that we cannot conceive all that He has planned for us. Knowing what we know, we long to be out of these bodies and in our heavenly bodies–or, at least, we should.
- Making the transition from these bodies to our eternal bodies is something that the Holy Spirit does for us. He fashions us for this very purpose, and is our deposit, our guarantee of what is to come.
The conclusion that I draw from this passage is that drawing close to Jesus/the Holy Spirit is the best way to be fashioned and prepared to make the transition from this world to the next, from this kingdom to His kingdom, from this tent to our heavenly dwelling. We should take great comfort in the phrase, “what is mortal is being swallowed up by life (v.5)!”
Tomorrow, we look at verses 6-10 and what awaits us.
Abba, thank You for loving me and for preparing me to exit this world and go be with You in Your kingdom. I can think of nothing greater! May my life and my death bring glory and honor to You, O Lord.