by Mike Ratliff
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:22-25 (NASB)
As I have grown older as a Christian, and, hopefully, as the Lord has matured me, the more I want freedom from everything that is in any way tinged with The Fall. Of course that includes my own flesh that wants only to have its cravings satiated as well as the World System whose king is Satan. God does use our time here to grow us in humility while uprooting our pride, but I so want to be past this so I can be with my Saviour.
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NASB)
Like a tent, our earthly bodies, our earthly existence, are fragile and temporary and lowly. None of us know the day or hour of our deaths, however, that day and hour is coming to us all. Even so, Christians have a Heavenly body awaiting them that is not corrupt or inferior in any way. It is an eternal, resurrected, and glorified body from God. It won’t be like a tent, which is temporary, but will be permanent. In Heaven we won’t be like Casper the Friendly Ghost drifting around like disembodied spirit, but will have a real, eternal, resurrection body. These bodies will be glorious, immortal and perfect. All of this is according to God’s perfect will and by His Sovereign Grace. It is as sure as the fact that all who are genuine believers have the Holy Spirit. In fact, the gift of the Holy Spirit is our guarantee that these things are assured.
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NASB)
It is a very good thing to reflect on our eternal future. By this we see that this life is temporary and not where we have our treasure. Instead, our treasure is in Heaven. As we empty ourselves of temporal focus as our Lord gives us an eternal focus in its place we learn that it is how we walk here in this tent that either builds up our treasure in Heaven or not. If we walk by faith and not by sight then we actually possess the treasure that God is preserving for us there as well as accumulating even more treasure in our hearts. When we walk by faith our treasury of goodness in our hearts grows. Our humility and Christ-likeness is sure treasure. Pride is a worthless counterfeit that diminishes and wastes the real treasure God is building in us. When we walk by faith we have good courage and see this life for the temporary tent that it is. We then have a clear view of what awaits us in eternity, our true home.
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NASB)
While we are in these bodies we must have the goal or aim to walk through our lives to please God instead of self. Why? All of us have awaiting us, the Judgment Seat of Christ. There we will receive what is due us for our deeds of obedience and disobedience. This should instill in us a fear of God, knowing that we must stand before our Lord to give an account.
A healthy conscience is a vital part of this walk by faith. Therefore, we must take care not to damage it, but learn to heed it. Why? God designed the conscience to grasp the highest values available to it. If we are in Christ then we have God’s values available to us in His Word. If we obediently live according to His Word then our conscience will be right there being used by God to direct us to do or not do according to those values. If we learn to live this way then when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ we won’t be ashamed. I desire this very much.
Soli Deo Gloria!