KNOW YOUR FUTURE
Lord, I long to be with You forever.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1–10
Awaiting the New Body
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.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). Give thanks to God that Jesus has defeated death and that you share his victory.
God sustains us during difficult times in our personal ministry by our future hope, as Paul was. His flow of thought is not easy to follow, so it’s good to make sure we grasp it. He longs to be “clothed” with his “heavenly dwelling” (2), namely the resurrection body all believers will receive at the return of Christ (cf. Paul’s argument in 1 Cor. 15). But what if he dies before his Lord returns? Ideally, Paul does not want this to happen, as then he will be “unclothed”: he will be with Christ still awaiting his new body (3,4). Even so, he knows that being “away from the body” and “at home with the Lord” is far better than life in the here and now (8).
Notice that the apostle does not focus on “going to heaven when we die.” Rather, he looks forward to the resurrection from the dead and the coming of the new heavens and the new earth (cf. 1 Cor. 15; Rom. 8:18–27). What is more, he has absolute “confidence” (6,8) that these things will take place. His hope is not vague, but sure and certain. He asserts these things. Such hope belongs to all Christians, based on the trustworthy promises of God and his incomparable power to fulfill them.
Does this focus on the future make us ineffective in the present, so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use? Not at all. Rather, it encourages us to live productively in the here and now. All true believers can be secure in their salvation, yet we will have to give an account of how we have lived to our Lord himself (10). Even this, however, is not the greatest motivation for full-blooded Christian discipleship. In the light of our glorious future, we want to please Christ (9). If we are to be of real earthly use, we need to be more heavenly minded, not less.
“…live by faith, not by sight” (7). How will doing this help to shape your life as a disciple of Jesus today?
Lord, I realize that You will require an accounting of my life from me on the other side. Keep me in that awareness every day.
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