2 Corinthians 5:1 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 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 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. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of that year. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
Paul is writing this letter to the church at Corinth, Greece. This is a message directed to those Christians and to all Christians today.
Paul, who was a tent maker by trade, uses a comparison of which he is familiar. He calls our earthly bodies “tents”, because they are susceptible to wearing out and not lasting long under the everyday storms of life (v. 1a).
He compares them with our heavenly bodies which are not from humans, not a part of this creation, but are from God (v. 1b). He describes our heavenly bodies as “eternal in the heavens” (v. 1c).
Our earthly bodies die, and our spirit and soul go to Heaven where we receive our heavenly bodies. Until then we “groan”, because our earthly bodies are ravished by disease and decay as we get older (v. 2a).
Our heavenly bodies will not decay, or have pain, or die. So, we would rather “be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven”, our heavenly bodies (v. 2b).
While we are in these mortal bodies, we are not clothed with the protection of our eternal state. So, Paul describes this mortal state as being “naked” (v. 3).
We are “being burdened” by this mortal state (v. 4a). We are always taking great care to protect these mortal bodies from disease and calamity.
We do not “want to be unclothed” (v. 4b), but would rather have our heavenly body. We want these mortal bodies to “be swallowed up by life” (v. 4c). We want to trade in these mortal bodies for bodies that will live eternally.
God “has prepared us for this very thing” (v. 5a). Our time here on earth is a training ground. It is like boot camp, hard and short. It prepares us for entering Heaven.
God “also has given us the Spirit”, the Holy Spirit (v. 5b). We are given, indwelled by, the Holy Spirit the moment that we ask Jesus to come live in our hearts and become a Christian.
The Holy Spirit is “a guarantee” that we will go to Heaven when we die (v. 5c). The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and converts us to be more Christ like.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, He will prepare us to live in a holy environment. When we sin, we quench the work and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We will never be a finished product this side of Heaven. But if we cooperate with God the Holy Spirit, He will prepare our journey.
This presence of God working in our lives is evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. His presence is a guarantee that we will go to Heaven when He calls us.
Online Bible Commentary