2Corinthians 5:1-8

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 4, 2000


Paul has been talking about the difficulties he’s had in his ministry and how God has only used them for the good.

(2 Cor 4:16-18 KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; {18} While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

tabernacleskenos – a tabernacle, a tent; metaph. of the human body, in which the soul dwells as in a tent, and which is taken down at death

dissolvedkataluo – to dissolve, disunite; the word used to strike a tent and take it down.

buildingoikodome – (the act of) building, building up; a building (i.e. the thing built, edifice)

houseoikia – a house; an inhabited edifice, a dwelling

Just as Paul didn’t focus his eyes on "temporal" things, but instead kept looking at "eternal" things, now he compares his current physical body with a "tent" (tabernacle), and his future, eternal body with a "building".

:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

groanstenazo – a sigh, to groan

earnestly desiringepipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; to lust, harbor forbidden desire

Sometimes we can look forward to exchanging these old bodies of ours for newer models.



An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The boy asked his father, "What is this, Father?" The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life. I don’t know what it is!"

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, as an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, "Go get your mother!"

That means trading our own bodies in for newer models, not our spouses.

:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

The real "you" is a spirit, dressed up in the physical body you see in the mirror.

But the real "you" could exist without the physical body.

Paul doesn’t want to be without a physical body.

Some have taken this to mean that when a Christian dies, that they must immediately receive their new bodies, but I’m not sure this is the case.

The traditional, orthodox position is that when a person dies, they go into an "intermediate" state, being a person without a body, but into the immediate presence of the Lord.

(Phil 1:21-24 NASB) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. {22} But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. {23} But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; {24} yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

It’s not until the time of the Rapture that a person will receive their newer body.

(1 Th 4:13-17 KJV) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. {14} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. {15} For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. {16} For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened:

being burdenedbareo – to burden, weigh down, depress

Ever get "depressed" about your body? You’re not alone.


A young man saw an elderly couple sitting down to lunch at McDonald’s. He noticed that they had ordered one meal, and an extra drink cup. As he watched, the gentleman carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries, one for him, one for her, until each had half of them. Then he poured half of the soft drink into the extra cup and set that in front of his wife. The old man then began to eat, and his wife sat watching, with her hands folded in her lap. The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they didn’t have to split theirs. The old gentleman said, "Oh no. We’ve been married 50 years, and everything has always been and will always be shared, 50/50." The young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, and she replied, "It’s his turn with the teeth."

:4 not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

swallowedkatapino – to drink down, swallow down; to devour; to swallow up, destroy

Interesting picture, death (mortality) being "swallowed" up in life.

:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

earnestarrhabon – an earnest; money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid

God has given the Holy Spirit to us as a kind of "down payment", letting us know that we will indeed be given these new bodies.

What will these new bodies be like?

(Phil 3:20-21 NKJV) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, {21} who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Our new, glorified bodies will be like His glorified body. He could do things like appear out of nowhere, walk through walls, fly (ascending on the clouds) - WAY COOL!

The Holy Spirit in you is God’s down payment on a new vehicle.

:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

confidenttharrheo – to be of good courage, be of good cheer; to be bold

While we still live in these old tents, our current physical bodies, our spirits are not in heaven, in God’s presence.

:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

sighteidos – the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape

It seems that Paul says this almost as an aside, but it’s such an important principle.

This is why Paul could be "confident", why he had "courage", because he didn’t trust in the things he could see, but He trusted in God.


Trusting God’s promises

The question is, are we going to trust in the things that we see or sense, or are we going to trust in God?

If we are going to trust in God, then we are going to pay attention to what He says, and we are going to let His Word affect the way we live our life.

(Mat 7:24-27 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

The storms of life are going to come. But what are we going to do when they hit us?

(Mat 14:22-33 KJV) And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. {23} And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. {24} But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. {25} And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. {26} And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. {27} But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. {28} And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. {29} And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. {30} But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. {31} And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? {32} And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. {33} Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

We like to knock Peter a lot, but he at least was willing to get out of the boat. Yet when he did, he got his eyes off of Jesus and started paying attention to the storm around him. That’s the moment he began to sink.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. The storms are distractions. The way we keep our eyes on Jesus is to be staying in His Word, and doing what He says.

:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

willingeudokeo – it seems good to one, is one’s good pleasure; think it good, choose, determine, decide; to do willingly; to be ready to, to prefer, choose rather

be absentekdemeo – to go abroad; emigrate, depart; to be or live abroad

be presentendemeo – to be among one’s own people, dwell in one’s own country, stay at home

Principle: When a Christian dies, they leave their present body and go immediately into God’s presence.