Summary: One of the worst pieces of mail you can receive comes with three little letters in the return address: IRS. Getting audited is like going to the dentist without the novocaine. As troubling as it may seem, an even more important audit is coming for all of
In the first part of Chapter 5 I have some good news and some not so good news depending on how you look at it. The good news is that
you’re due for an upgrade. The bad news: you’re being audited.
First, the upgrade. We talked last time about the fact that to God we are ordinary clay jars into which God places the most wonderful
treasure imaginable—His character and reality. Sometimes those clay jars are mistreated by this age and the difficulties God allows into
our lives. But though we develop cracks, it only serves to shine out the glory of God from within us as people around us see us trust in
the Lord no matter what. And God makes us stronger for having gone through these difficulties.
Paul says that God is working something permanent in us—an eternal weight of glory. So we should focus on that, not just on the
circumstances around us. The stuff we endure here is temporary. The stuff of heaven is permanent.
We experience the temporary nature of this age all of the time. Nothing seems very permanent around us, does it? Stuff wears out. People
wear out. So Paul gives the Corinthians something to hang their hats on—the promise not only of this “eternal weight of glory” but an
eternal and all-together body to enjoy it in.
The Corinthians had a tough time understanding the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15 , Paul had to explain it to them because they had
started believing that only the soul survived death and not the body. But a bodily resurrection is central to our faith. They were
apparently greatly influenced by the Greek idea that body is bad and soul is good and that at death the soul is released into eternity and
the body goes away.
In fact, the body isn’t done away with but it is changed, transformed, glorified. Paul uses the picture of a tent: a temporary structure
that is folded up and put away. In contrast, the new body we get is permanent and will last forever. It isn’t “made with hands” i.e.: human
reproduction, but made by God.
God wants you fit to live in a new dimension. Your old style body can’t exist in heaven—its physical properties won’t allow it. But make no
mistake, you will have a body, and it is connected to the old. Jesus, in His resurrected body, was recognizable (though He hid is identity
very easily as well). His new body could eat like the old body, but it could also pass through walls and doors and disappear at will. And
it could not be destroyed!
2 - 3
I love this picture of us “groaning” in this body. The older I get the more I groan and creak and crackle. Some of my tent seams are frayed
and leak and my tent pegs are crooked! The word can mean to groan like someone in pain, or to sigh. Either one works. We groan because of
the pain we endure, especially if we are undergoing difficulties. We sigh because we long so much to be released.
We long to “put on our house from heaven.” In some ways this reminds me of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The host, Ty Pennington,
surveys the old house and notes the horrible condition it’s in. Then he sends the family away on vacation and they tear down the old one,
rebuilding a gorgeous mansion on the same lot. So when God is ready, He’ll shout “Good morning Pastor Tom!” and my old body will be rebuilt
into a wonderful mansion—and it won’t take seven days either!
The idea of being “found naked” in verse 3 comes back to the Greek idea of the soul being released from the body. There won’t be any naked
souls flying around without bodies. The next age is every bit as material as this one—even more so.
4 – 5
We groan in this body because in reality as a Christian you are a half-breed, a hybrid, a schizophrenic. God has placed His Spirit in our
hearts as it says in verse 5 as a “down payment.” Later in this chapter he’ll talk about this as “old things have passed away and look, new
things have come.” (verse 17). We have a new heart, a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26 ). God’s Spirit is building in you an eternal
character. But that character lives in an old style body. This character is actually fit for the new body—described in verse 4 as being
“clothed.” The new body is so much better than the old that we will seem naked by comparison. The old style body often fights with the new
style character building within us. So …
In the meantime we need to keep something in mind.