2 Corinthians 5:5-8

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Now, He who by His working in us made us fit for this very thing [the change from mortality to live] is God, He who gave us the Spirit as a token payment in kind, guaranteeing to us the rest of our salvation. Being therefore always confident, and knowing that while we are in our natural home [for this earthly existence] in our body, we are living abroad, absent from [that home in heaven] the Lord, for through faith we are ordering our manner of life, not by something seen. Now, we are of good courage and well pleased rather to be away from our body as our home, and at home face to face with the Lord. — Wuest, page 423.

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[Paul] groaned in his mortal body for it was burdened with pain and mortality, but he knew that the faithful God who wrought his house for him (v.1) wrought him for it (v.5), and as an earnest and pledge of the double fact, had given him His Holy Spirit. A body indwelt of that Spirit must of necessity rise from among the dead. God had fashioned him for this glory—the Resurrection glory of Christ. Paul was God’s workmanship, and the indwelling of the Spirit secured his enjoyment of the fact. — Williams, page 901.

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Paul’s epistles as a whole speak, not of three physical bodies for the believer but of two. The one has to do with this life; the other with the life to come (2 Corinthians 5:1).

The one Paul calls a tent, the other a building (2 Corinthians 5:1).

The one is earthly, the other from heaven (2 Corinthians 5:2).

The one is temporary, the other eternal (2 Corinthians 5:1).

The one is corruptible, the other incorruptible (cf., 1 Corinthians 15:54).

The one is called vile and humiliating, the other glorious, like Christ’s glorious body (cf. Philippians 3:21).

In the one we groan, in the other—forever blessed (2 Corinthians 5:4).

We have seen, too, that time is not a factor in eternity, so that Paul did not long for disembodiment at death, or for a temporal, intermediate body between death and resurrection. He longed to be with Christ, that mortality might be swallowed up of life and that he might receive his “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4).

Now it is in view of this promised coming glory that the apostle declares, “Therefore, we are always confident” (v.6).

Our glorious position with Christ in the heavenlies and all of our “all spiritual blessings” there, are enjoyed by faith, not by sight. Indeed, there is nothing for sight in our present situation, for “the things which are seen are temporal” (4:18), but there is much, so much, for faith, for by faith “we look … at the things which are not seen” and these are “eternal.”

But this present situation is not the best: it is future, not present; we enjoy it only by faith. Thus the apostle says: “We are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present [lit., at home] with the Lord.”

Note carefully that there is nothing here about a temporary, intermediate body, only about going home to be “with Christ.” The apostle expresses his feelings about this matter beautifully in Philippians 1:23-24, where he says: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better [lit., “better by far“]; Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

He was “in a spot” between two: his deep longing to be with Christ and his responsibility to minister to the saints. — Stam, pages 101-103.

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