“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
“It is easy to get lost in this passage in Paul’s shifting metaphors that describe death and resurrection: tearing down a tent, a house not made with hands, taking off and putting on clothing, nakedness, and being away from home and being at home. But he is basically rehearsing a doctrine he has already taught them regarding the hope of eternity and the impermanence of life in this world.” David E. Garland, The New American Commentary, 2 Corinthians, p. 248
The process of being people of good courage/confident hope:
1. We know that when the tent that is our earthly home is taken down, we will exchange it for a house in Heaven made by God. We will exchange the temporary for the eternal. We will exchange that which is inevitably decaying, for that which is glorious.
“It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” 1 Corinthians 15:43
“...who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:21
“The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.” Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 32, Section 3
2. We experience (in the present reality) groaning/longing/yearning/desire, and being burdened as we anticipate the eternal.
3. There are two types of longing/groaning:
• Dissatisfaction overlaid with despair
“Do not go gentle into that good night...Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
• Dissatisfaction overlaid with hope
“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain
4. The reality of this process is taught to us by the Holy Spirit. (v.5) Therefore we are all of good courage/live confidently/are bold.
“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6