Weekly Bulletin Articles
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4, NKJV).
When Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ with faith and hope, we often turn to Jesus’ promise in John 14:1-4 to bring us to a place prepared for us in our Father’s mansion. We may also turn to Revelation 20 and 21 where Heaven is described as a great city with gates of pearl, streets of gold, and wonderful blessings for those who will inhabit it eternally. The concept of “inheritance” naturally complements the idea of the Father’s estate which his children will receive. That is both Biblical and a source of great comfort and encouragement.
But Paul presents a slightly different perspective on that eternal inheritance in 2 Corinthians 5. Here the words house, building, and tent refer not to separate structures in which we live now or will live eternally. Rather they are metaphors for our bodies. This earthly house (verse 1) in which we live is mortal and temporary. It is described as a tent, such as the ancestors of the Jews lived in during the days of the Patriarchs. Those tents were portable, fragile, and offered only marginal shelter and security. Our physical bodies share all those characteristics.
But when those bodies are laid aside, God will give us new bodies that are heavenly, immortal, and eternal (verse 4). Given the idyllic conditions of heaven, dwelling places as such may well be unnecessary – our immortal, spiritual bodies will equip us for every need. (This is not to say that there will be no structures; those may serve other purposes than mere shelter and comfort).
The young may not be able to appreciate the blessing of a perfect immortal body to replace this human tent in which our souls live on earth. However, those who experience the pains, weaknesses, and debilitations of aging bodies can appreciate Paul’s description of our groaning to be unclothed from this worn-out tent so that it may be replaced with a beautiful new habitation for the soul which will be given by God. That incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) is truly glorious and is a portion of our inheritance which we will enjoy forever.