2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV
“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.”
The ”We” in this passage of scripture is referring to all of us who have genuinely trusted Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. We have died with Christ to sin, we have been regenerated of the Spirit of God, and we are now walking by faith according to the Spirit of God in righteousness and holiness, empowered by the Spirit of God, and not according to the flesh (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
Even though we are in Christ, by faith in him, and even though his Holy Spirit lives within us, we still live in flesh bodies. We still live in this world, too. So, we are going to get hurt. We are going to suffer. We are going to experience sorrow, pain, disappointment, tragedy, disasters, troubles, hardships, and persecutions, and the like. And, we are going to groan.
Yet, we have the promise that one day, when this life on earth is over, that we will have a home with God for eternity where we will no longer be in pain, and we will no longer suffer, but God will wipe away the tears from our eyes. We won’t be in these flesh bodies, and so we won’t be tempted to sin, either. And, the older that I get, especially, and the more that I go through in this life, the greater my groaning and my longing for my heavenly home.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 ESV
“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.”
But, groaning doesn’t mean we go around moaning, grumbling and complaining. On the contrary, we should be at peace, we should have the joy of the Lord in our hearts, and we should always be of good courage no matter what is going on all around us.
And, continually we should be in God’s Word, in prayer, and seeking his counsel and direction. Then we should be following him in his footsteps, being who he wants us to be, going wherever he has us to go, and doing whatever it is that he has for us to do. For, he didn’t put us on this earth just so we could wish we were in heaven, instead. He has something for us while we are still here, so we need to be that and do that.
Our goal in this life should be to please God in every way. Our desire should be for him, to walk in his ways, and to live for his glory and praise. And, please know that God is not pleased with us no matter what we do or no matter how we live, as some people would have you believe. Scripture is real clear on this subject. We must do what pleases him, and we must refrain from doing what displeases him (Rom. 8:8; Col. 1:9-11; Eph. 5:10).
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 (2 Co. 5:10; cf. Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
2 Corinthians 5:11, 14-15 ESV
“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others… 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.”
Do we know the fear of the Lord? Not intellectually, but experientially? Are we living our lives for his honor, glory and praise, in his power and strength within us? Do we revere him, treat him with respect, and walk in obedience to his commands, as a matter of our life course? Do we take his Word to heart? And, do we do what it says, as a matter of practice, and not just when it is convenient for us?
And, then if we do know the fear of the Lord experientially, in practice, do we try to persuade others to also walk in the fear of God? And, I am not talking here about pushing ourselves on others who don’t want to hear what we have to say. But, are we sharing the good news of the gospel regularly and consistently with others? Are we encouraging the body of Christ, too, to walk in faithful obedience to our Lord?
For, the love of Christ should be what controls us, what leads and guides us, and what motivates us to do what we do. And, that love sent Jesus Christ to the cross to die for our sins so that we would no longer live for ourselves, and for our own selfish desires, but so we would live for Christ who gave his life up for us, and who was raised from the dead to give us life in him.
And, that is the kind of love we should have for one another, too, that we would willingly lay down our lives and our reputations to see others be free from their slavery to sin and to walk in the fear of the Lord. We should care more about others and their relationships with God, and about them no longer living for themselves, but for Jesus Christ, than we care about what other people will think of us if we tell them the truth.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV
“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.”
This is the truth that is in Christ Jesus, that we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. And, we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we are to put on the new self in Christ Jesus, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:20-24; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Lu. 9:23-26).
We aren’t supposed to live to satisfy the passions and desires of our flesh any longer, like we did before we believed in Jesus. For, if we are truly “in Christ,” by faith in him, then the old manner of life we once lived is to be gone, dead. And, now we should be new creatures, new creations in Christ Jesus, our Lord, living no longer for ourselves, but for Christ who died for us and who was raised from the dead, on our behalf, that we might live.
And, all this is from God, i.e. we can do nothing in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our good works of our flesh will never be good enough for us to be acceptable to God. Even the faith to believe in Jesus is gifted to us from God, as is repentance, i.e. the ability to turn away from our sin to follow our Lord in obedience.
But, just because Jesus provided the way of salvation for us on the cross, i.e. the way for us to be reconciled to God, it doesn’t mean everyone is reconciled to God. We have to be reconciled to God.
We have to put away that former life of sin. We have to die with Christ to sin, and we have to live to him and to his righteousness, in obedience to his commands. This is what it means to have faith (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; Lu. 9:23-26; Jn. 6:35-66; 1 Pet. 2:24).
So, I implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Don’t put this off until tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation!
O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth
Author: Samuel Medley (1789)
O could I speak the matchless worth,
O could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Savior shine,
I’d soar, and touch the heav’nly strings,
and vie with Gabriel while he sings
in notes almost divine,
in notes almost divine.
I’d sing the precious blood he spilt,
my ransom from the dreadful guilt
of sin, and wrath divine:
I’d sing his glorious righteousness,
in which all perfect, heav’nly dress
my soul shall ever shine,
my soul shall ever shine.
I’d sing the characters he bears,
and all the forms of love he wears,
exalted on his throne:
in loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
make all his glories known,
make all his glories known.
Well, the delightful day will come
when my dear Lord will bring me home,
and I shall see his face;
then with my Savior, Brother, Friend,
a blest eternity I’ll spend,
triumphant in his grace,
triumphant in his grace.
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