Our Heavenly Dwelling
5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 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 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.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“For the love of Christ controls us.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14
Everything Paul did, all he endured, the relationships he sought and maintained, the outlook he had not only on in his troubles but the eternity that waited, was based upon this statement. On many levels it was indeed his mission statement: The love of Christ controlled him.
As his body was wasting away with the years passing, he knew this was not the body he would have in eternity. Groaning under its weight, he held to the fact there was a new body yet to come. The experience he had with Jesus had shifted his focus many years before and he was driven in sharing who Jesus was through his life and word. It was all about perspective.
He would take every opportunity given to persuade men of what hope Jesus brought. He clung to the fact that his old life was gone. He was a new creation. He wanted others to have this same hope. As he calls this a “ministry of reconciliation” and his words and testimony would reconcile men to God through the same experience they could have with Jesus.
I ponder what this means for me. Paul was so aware of his own sinful past and yet the new life he had, there was no looking back. This mission of his is what drove him on every level. It dictated the conversations he had, the places he went. He was ready in season and out of to give an answer to anyone and everyone. On many levels, he saw people with the Father Heart of God and how lost they were without a shepherd. He wanted others to experience this hope and be set free.
Is this what drives me in all that I do? What I say? How I react and respond? Does Christ’s love compel me on every level? Do I function as an ambassador of the King who is reconciling people to himself? Do I realize the role of which I play?
Yes, these are a lot of questions. But should not our own changed life and hope of something beyond what we deserve be the driving force in our daily experiences? Should it not be ever on our thought as we see such brokenness around and realize how that can change for them?
2 Corinthians 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
When Jesus took the form of a man, He stepped down from Heaven and entered into a finite, flawed human body. It was a heart and mind just like ours. He dealt with temptation, experienced human emotion, and was subjected to physical pain. Jesus died in that body and was resurrected. He was not raised to the same state as He previously existed, and neither will we. Paul articulates this point clearly in 2 Corinthians 5.
2 Corinthians 5:4 GNB While we live in this earthly tent, we groan with a feeling of oppression; it is not that we want to get rid of our earthly body, but that we want to have the heavenly one put on over us, so that what is mortal will be transformed by life.
We do not know what it will be like to have a body in Heaven. However, we do know that the body we currently have is not our home and not how God intended us to live! There is both a sense that our earthly body is not necessarily evil (because Jesus took one for Himself) but also not something we should desire over being with Jesus. As Paul has written, there is nothing wrong with longing to be with Jesus in a perfect, resurrected body.
“If after that you desire to know more concerning this house, I can but give you the advice which was given by John Bunyan in a similar case. One asked of honest John a question which he could not answer, for the matter was not opened up in God’s word; and therefore honest John bade his friend live a godly life, and go to heaven, and see for himself.”Charles Spurgeon
I love this quote!
How many times do we get hung up on details we will never know? We have all the tools we need to live a Godly life. We have all the instruction to complete the mission at hand. As we look forward to being with Jesus, let us not forget that He has work for us to do before we go home!