I gotta say, I am LOVING my time in 2 Corinthians! God is teaching me so much and I am blown away by how much I am learning in a book I know I’ve read a hundred times in my life.
Today’s verse is 2 Corinthians 5:4 and reads:
“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.”
This chapter is heavily laden with analogies which perfectly explain reality.
So let’s break this one down:
- We who are in this tent: Here, Paul is talking about our mortal, earthly bodies (as he explains in v. 1). I have no doubt he chose to call it a tent because tents are notoriously portable. They are not meant to be permanent, they are a place holder for something better, firmer, sturdier. They are also of far inferior quality compared with the things they emulate (houses or buildings), and they are limited in their capacity to function in the way something permanent can. Our bodies, our tents, are finite, inferior, less sturdy, and less desirable than the alternative, which will be explained in just a second.
- Groan: When I think of groaning, I think of despair. I think if deep, deep sorrow, or guttural, compulsive aching. I believe that’s the idea Paul is going for here. As beliers we have an eternal prospective. We know what we are working toward and for Whom we are living. We know this world and our bodies are finite and, when we compare the two, we long for Heaven rather than Earth – especially now that the days are so evil. To say that we groan is to say exactly what is felt sincerely in our hearts – we deeply, deeply ache for Heaven because we know it is the place where our Truest Love lives and we desperately long to be with him there.
- Being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed: As believers, our lives are very weighty. No single choice we make is free of spiritual consequence, nor is any train of thought or emotion. So, as we long to see Christ and enjoy His presence, we are (or should be) burdened by many things. First, our sin. It should burden us greatly when we sin because it hinders our relationship with God from being what it can and ought to be. Second, we are burdened with a desire to put on more of Christ that we might be able to stand in His presence and be acceptable to Him there – something that will only happen when we die or are resurrected. We are simply giddy within ourselves at the thought of being able to worship at the actual feet of our loving Savior, and are burdened by the fact that we are here on Earth and unable to do so. Third, we are burdened by the lack of holiness we are able to attain in this earthly life and wish to put on more of it if at all possible, to be “further clothed” by Christ’s righteousness, to its very fullest extent. Because of the Fall, we simply cannot be sinless. Until God accepts us into Glory, we are bound in this unacceptable form, beholden to effects of sin which we, as children of God, hate to our very core. Be we long to be acceptable to Him and so ache to be further clothed by His holiness.
- Being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed: But of all the things we are burdened by, there is one thing by which we are not: a desire to be “unclothed.” In Paul’s analogies, this means that we have no desire to take off the righteousness with which Christ has graciously covered us. We have (or should have) NO desire to be adorned by anything other than the blood of Christ, that beautiful, purifying, washing, cleansing, whitening blood of the Lamb. Everything else with which we can be clothed (anything outside of the perfect will of God) is hideous by comparison. Why settle for a knock-off when we have been gifted the real thing?
- That mortality may be swallowed up by life: Again, this speaks to our eternal perspective. We know our end. We know what’s waiting for us when death calls our name and our first life passes away. We fear not the Devil or any of his threats. We hold fast to the Truth, knowing that the only end that awaits us is an eternal one in Glory. When Christ rose from the dead, He obliterated sin and death, swallowing up mortality by life, eternal life. “Where, O death is your victory. Where, O death is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55).” And that’s just the point. Death has no sting, not for the true believer! We don fear death because it has no power over us. The only power at work in our lives, both temporal and eternal, is the power of God – AMEN!
How blessed are the promises of God! How joyful we can be because we are His!
And if you’re not sure you are His, don’t worry! The gospel is a free gift to all, and God is eager that you should accept it (please click here if you’d like to know more about salvation). You need only ask, His arms are open!
Until Next Time My Friends,
The Taylor of All Trades