Summary: I'm going to have a glorified body [house] someday that will make a mansion look like a shack, and my God has already paid for it in full! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
This Old House
At Christmas we visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to live in a house like that. Then I thought about the bills! But I'm going to live in something someday that will make that mansion look like a shack, and my God has already paid for it in full!
I want you especially to notice what Paul is saying here. He says, "For we know [not we hope or we expect or even that we believe] 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." This is a very positive "know." He knows because of the fact that the Spirit of God has made it real to him.
The word for "tabernacle" is skene, which means "tent." That is the same word that was used for the wilderness tabernacle of the Old Testament in the Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament into the Greek. The Old Testament tabernacle, the Mosaic tabernacle, was a skene, a tent. It was a flimsy sort of thing.
The bodies we have now are like loaners until we get the real permanent thing. Ours are broken as soon as we receive them, under the curse, and scarred by sin all our lives. But praise God someday He'll take my body as a trade in and I'm gonna trade up in a way unthinkable here on earth. It won't be a fair or even trade at all, but in God's grace I'm gonna receive my glorified body and it's gonna be really good!
We need to realize that there is an outward man and an inward man. Paul talked about that in the preceding chapter. The outward man perishes, but the inward man is renewed day by day. A great many people misunderstand that.
One preacher testified: "I had a letter from a man who said the Bible is filled with contradictions, and he said, 'I can prove there are contradictions. You talk about So-and-So having gone to be with the Lord, and then you talk about the body that is going to be raised and say that the person is going to be raised from the dead down here. Now that is a contradiction.' This man has missed the entire point. The body is put in the grave, but the individual, the real person, has gone to be with Christ -- if that individual is a believer.
ill.--Kerry buried in the snow / he hated snow / but its just a shell lying in that cemetery.
The things that are seen are temporal. Often preachers say they are going to come here and see me, and I do my best to talk them out of it, because they'll be real disappointed once they get here. They think we're a big, rich church w/ thousands of people and that I'm some big time preacher. Well, if I'm gonna maintain that illusion I have to talk them out of it!!!
A few have come by and they just saw this house, this old tent, I live in. They saw my short stature, knocked knees, crooked teeth, and a beer belly on the way! And it won't be getting better before it gets worse.
Solomon described old age in Ecclesiastes: "In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low" (Eccl. 12:3-4). The "keepers of the house" are the legs, and my knees and hips are beginning to tremble and ache on my treadmill. "The strong men," which are my shoulders, will eventually bow themselves. My wife tells me to stand up straight, and I tell her I can't stand straight, it's not comfortable. "Those that look out of the windows" are my eyes -- I am going to have to get a large print Bible. "The sound of the grinding is low" -- I don't hear as well as I used to hear, unless you are talking about the ringing, which grows ever louder. This is old age taking place in the outward man. The things that are seen are temporal.
Also, there is an inward man, and the inward man is spiritual. It is difficult for us to understand that. God is a person, but God is not a physical, material Being. God is a Spirit. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." And I'm glad our Spirit can be renewed and we can grow stronger all our lives, spiritually.