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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”—2 Corinthians 5:1 (NLT)
Try to imagine this scenario with me: You’re going on a trip, so you purchase plane tickets. As someone on a budget, you purchase coach class tickets. But when you arrive at the terminal, they upgrade you to first class!
Here’s one for all the married couples out there: You plan a romantic getaway with your spouse, which includes a weekend at a nice hotel. You get a decent room with a king-sized bed and a courtyard view. But when you arrive, they upgrade you to the honeymoon suite overlooking pristine waters and white sands.
Both of these scenarios sound pretty awesome, don’t they? Being upgraded to a much better, more luxurious setting is always desired. It’s what we all wish we could afford every time we travel, but simply can’t; so we make the best of the standard setting.
In today’s verse, Paul is talking about an upgrade every disciple of Jesus can expect and anticipate with glee. It’s the upgrade of our “earthly tent.” Joseph Barnes wrote, “The word ‘house’ here refers doubtless to the body, as the habitation or the dwelling-place of the mind or soul. The soul dwells in it as we dwell in a house or tent.”
In context, the apostle is seeking to encourage those who were experiencing persecution by explaining to them that if their earthly “tent” were to be returned to the dust from which it came, they would receive a glorious, heavenly, eternal upgrade! This new tent doesn’t decay, it doesn’t break down, and it cannot be destroyed. The beauty and perfection of these new soul tents, these heavenly bodies, exceeds even the most magnificent structures that human hands have ever raised. This new body is completely free from the damaging effects of sin; it is not subject to toil or suffering or death.
Friends, think of it! Unlike the upgraded plane ticket or hotel room, this heavenly upgrade is not a short-term thing. It’s not something we simply enjoy for a few hours or even a few days; it’s forever. It’s the vessel our souls were always meant to inhabit before sin and death corrupted the world and us. This is what awaits us: a heavenly body in the presence of a glorious God forever and ever. Amen!
DIG: Search for and read theologian Alexander MacLaren’s commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1 titled, “Tent and Building” in MacLaren’s Expositions.
DISCOVER: Do you ever think about what life will be like in heaven? Do you ever think about the heavenly tent that awaits your soul when you arrive and how that compares to the earthly one you currently inhabit? Where does your mind take you in those moments? How do you feel about the idea of incorruptible and eternal bodies that are free of all the imperfections of the world?
DISPLAY: As you await your heavenly body, make the most of your earthly one! Pray and ask the Lord to give you even greater zeal for the gospel, to help you bloom where you’re planted, to equip you daily for the work of ministry, so that those who are currently lost would be found and more would join the family of God.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.