WILLING TO BE ABSENT FROM THE BODY

2Co 5:4-8  “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

Paul began this chapter by talking about the dissolving of our earthly body, which he referred to as a tabernacle. In this day and time, we tend to think of something of permanence. However, a tabernacle has always been a temporary dwelling, and Strong’s uses the term “hut” in defining the word. Our first thought along these lines might be that the tabernacle in the wilderness was no hut!

While there were many things in the tabernacle that would seem glorious to us, the truth is that it was still just a tent. It was a temporary structure designed with the intent of honoring the Living God.  Although the working of it and the vessels in it would be considered priceless to us, the fact that the literal definition of tabernacle is “hut” should give us a glimpse into the glory of God compared to anything this world can offer. For all its splendor in our eyes, the tabernacle was still just a “hut” compared to the splendor of God.

Understanding then that this tabernacle (body) that we occupy here is only temporary, we find ourselves continually praying within ourselves (see Strong’s definition of “groan”). God has placed an amazing treasure in this tabernacle (2Co 4:7), but the glory is in the treasure, not in the vessel. Realizing that these vessels are only temporary dwellings in their present state, we find ourselves willing to lay aside mortality that we might be fully clothed in the eternal.

Paul then declares something wondrous for us to consider. God made us for this very thing; that our mortality would be swallowed up in the life of Jesus Christ! God, in His mercy, has not asked us to just take this on His word. He has left us an earnest of this very thing so that we might realize a small portion of the glory of eternity while we are still in this temporary dwelling. We have the security of the Spirit in our hearts causing us to seek, not just God, but God our Father (Gal 4:6)!

The security of the Spirit makes us always confident that this world is not our end. It causes us to know that whatever is going on around us, we will never die. We understand that we will never be left in the cemetery; only the temporary dwelling that we earnestly seek to put off so that we might be fully clothed with our house from heaven. Here we live (walk) by faith; not “blind” faith, but faith that is revealed in us through the witness of the Spirit. Otherwise, the way things appear would fill us with so much despair we could not give Him praise.

May God continue to bless us to be confident of His eternal purpose in our lives that we would remain willing to be finally absent from the tabernacle and fully with the Lord!

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