From tents to buildings

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. 2 Corinthians 5:1

The first human body came right out of the dust of the earth. After the fall of Adam the curse that God announced on the earth took its toll on the human body, and God announced that it would return to the dust from where it came. (Genesis 3:19) It was just a temporary dwelling for an eternal spirit-being. We know too well that our bodies are frail, subject to all kinds of weakness, illness, disease, and, of course, sin. But that is what we have to live in while we dwell on the earth.

Paul calls the human body a tent, which is a perfect way to remind us of the frailty of our flesh. A day will come, if the Lord tarries, when your body will return to its kindred elements, sown into the ground if you will, although it will not mean the final chapter of your life. The body that now you live in is not fit for the future that God has for you; it was made for earthly use only.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Corinthians 15:50

For those of us who understand the vulnerability of our bodies this is good news. Who wants to live eternally in a body that is wrecked by sickness and injury, and the wear and tear of life in a fallen world? We are just camping here anyway. Thank God, none of the imperfections of our flesh will make it into God’s kingdom! The real you is not what you see when you look in the mirror, so don’t be too concerned with your looks, instead focus your grooming on the spirit-you who lives in that body.

There is hope though, even for this tent, no matter how worn it might be by the time it is put away. That hope depends on the condition of the resident of that tent. If he/she transitioned from spiritual death to life, it holds the promise of a future for the body as well.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

When the spirit departs from the body, whatever honour it had while still alive will be gone. There is nothing glorious about a dead body! The sooner it is discarded, the better. But while it is sown in dishonour, a day will come when it will be raised in unspeakable glory. Because we know this, we sigh with the apostle Paul when he says, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Paul shares a mystery with us – a hidden truth – so that we may be able to see things in true context.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

If you chose eternal life by surrendering your sinful nature to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, you will get a new body when Jesus receives the church to be His bride. This new body will be like the resurrected body of Jesus!

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Your new body will be very different from the one that you presently live in, with greater strength and abilities than you have now. You are used to live in a tent, but your future body will be like a building – strong, permanent, and beautiful.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2

Abraham set a good example for us. As he journeyed to the land that God showed him, he pitched his tents, but built his altars to God along the way. He understood the difference between temporary and permanent things in his life. It can be frustrating to live the eternal life in a temporary body!

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 5:2-4

A deposit has already been made to secure our new, permanent building; God made that deposit in us so that we will not lose sight of what is ahead.

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:5

After we opened up to the Lord, there is one more step to take, and that is to sow this lowly body as a seed into the ground; we know the deposit has been paid and we already wear the engagement ring and that the wedding will take place. Death is just a waiting room where our corrupt old bodies will be shelved until the trumpet announces the arrival of our Groom. It is nothing but a temporary unclothing – living without a body – until that Day when we will be clothed with an incorruptible, glorified body – our permanent building.

God bless you as you set your sights on things above, from where our salvation comes!

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