2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven.
Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3), and compared our bodies to a tent that will be destroyed. The Apostle Peter made the same comparison. I live in the tent of this body [and] will soon put it aside (2 Peter 1:13-14), he wrote.
Some tents are luxurious, but most are not, and wear out rather quickly. Our earthly tents are wearing out, but our eternal house in heaven will last forever. The difference between our earthly body and our heavenly body will be like a tent compared to a mansion.
2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling.
Paul was about fifty-five years old when he wrote these words, and he would live another twelve years. Due to his age, and his difficult life, he found himself groaning. And the longer he lived, the more he likely groaned. As a person of the future, however, Paul understood each groan to be a wish for his heavenly dwelling.
No one wants to decline, but our physical pains have a purpose. They are God’s way of weaning us from this age, and helping us wish for the age to come. Imagine every weakness and pain being replaced by strength and joy. [Y]ou will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11), wrote David. The best is always yet to come for those who belong to Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Likewise, [God] put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 1:22). And again, the Spirit . . . is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), wrote Paul. The promise of eternal life with Christ is so marvelous, we might be tempted to think it is only make-believe. So God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee that he will come back with the rest.
Several years ago I sold our home, and many came to see it. Most were complimentary, but only one liked the house enough to make a large deposit. That was his guarantee that he would return with the rest. We do not have to wonder if God will keep his word. He has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 5:15 [H]e died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
When we understand that Jesus died for us, our natural response is to want to live for him. If we do not want to live for Christ, we have not grasped the fact that he died for us. If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him (CT Studd).
Several years ago a friend of mine received a million dollars, and gave it all to a Christian ministry. It was a noble sacrifice because he did not have much to live on, and had to earn a living like everyone else. We may never have that opportunity, but we can all do something for Christ everyday. One good deed for Christ per day adds up to a life well spent. We do not live for ourselves anymore, but for him who died for [us] and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
The old creation was spoiled when we fell into sin (Genesis 3:17-20). But instead of walking away, God promised to make a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13), wrote Peter. Christ has already started this work by transforming individual sinners. Whoever comes to Christ becomes a new person, who will fit into the new creation.
One man had the reputation of being the wickedest person at work. Then he took a job somewhere else, and during that time, he was converted to Jesus Christ. Then his old company rehired him, and he was excited to return so they could see the change that Christ had made in his life. Jesus does something similar for all who believe in him. God is making a whole new creation, beginning with all who believe.
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This is one of the most important verses in the Bible for understanding how the gospel works. All our words, thoughts and deeds equal sin. All Christ’s words, thoughts and deeds equal righteousness. God put all our sin on Christ, and all Christ’s righteousness on us.
A baby sheep was orphaned and given a new mother to nurse it. But the new mother could sense that the orphaned sheep was not her own, so she rejected it. Then one of her own sheep died, so they skinned it and covered the orphaned sheep with the skin of the dead sheep. Then the mother sheep accepted the orphaned sheep because she thought it was her own.
Likewise, the Lamb of God was slain on our behalf, so we could be clothed with his righteousness, and be accepted by God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), wrote Isaiah. When God sees us in Christ, he loves us just as much as Christ (John 17:23), and is equally pleased with us.
Reflection and Review
How does the Spirit guarantee our future?
Why should we live for Christ?
What is the new creation?