Key Verse: “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
—II Corinthians 5:1
II Corinthians 5:1-10
THE SENTIMENT OF today’s Key Verse is a blessed and comforting assurance to partakers of the heavenly calling. Such consecrated saints, in fulfilling their covenant of self-sacrifice realize daily that their “earthly house,” or “earthen vessel,” is dissolving. (II Cor. 4:7) To all who possess this assurance, the human body is regarded as a temporary dwelling place for the new mind, the spirit-begotten “new creature.” (II Cor. 5:17) The Apostle Paul describes the process of dissolving our human bodies with these words: “Dear brothers, you have no obligations whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do. For if you keep on following it you are lost and will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you crush it and its evil deeds, you shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”—Rom. 8:12-14, The Living Bible
While the prospect of inheriting an eternal house in the heavens is our greatest desire, our Selected Scripture passage makes it clear that we “groan” in our current condition for a purpose. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Cor. 5:10, New American Standard Bible) The Apostle Paul implores those who hear God’s calling: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) The Apostle James also makes it clear that the testings which make us groan in our present “earthly house” are required to perfect the character needed to enter our future heavenly home. He states: “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character.” (James 1:2-4, J. B. Phillips New Testament) We are told that even Jesus, though a perfect man, “learned obedience” by the things which he suffered as a human being.—Heb. 5:8
Our goal is not to have the little spark of present life extinguished, but to have it consumed by experiences which will develop us as New Creatures. As such, we are no longer to live according to the flesh. (II Cor. 5:15,16) Paul says, “So long as we are clothed in this temporary dwelling we have a painful longing, not because we want just to get rid of these ‘clothes’ but because we want to know the full cover of the permanent house that will be ours. We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal.” (vs. 4, Phillips) For this reason we presently strive as “strangers and pilgrims,” that we may be acceptable to the Lord.—I Pet. 2:11
Let us consider daily these words of Paul: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Rom. 8:9, New American Standard Bible) Only through the Spirit of Christ can we find comfort in a heavenly home whose blueprints and building materials are not visible to the mere human mind and disposition. How thankful we should be for this!