Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Superior Shelter

Our favored old English hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote “Death and Immediate Glory,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:1, 5-8:

1. There is a house not made with hands,
Eternal and on high;
And here my spirit waiting stands,
Till God shall bid it fly.

2. Shortly this prison of my clay
Must be dissolved and fall,
Then, O my soul! with joy obey
Thy Heavenly Father’s call.

3. ’Tis He, by His almighty grace,
That forms thee fit for heaven,
And as an earnest of the place,
Has his own Spirit given.

4. We walk by faith of joys to come,
Faith lives upon his word;
But while the body is our home,
We’re absent from the Lord.

5. ’Tis pleasant to believe thy grace,
But we would rather see;
We would be absent from the flesh,
And present, Lord, with thee.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 For we know 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. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

We humans dwell in a tent, a temporary shelter designed for our earthly pilgrimage. As Christians mature they should progressively turn their gaze more and more away from the temporal (the things which are seen) to the eternal (the things which are not seen). See 2 Corinthians 4:18. We learn there is a shelter superior to the body in which we dwell. In location, it is heavenly rather than earthly. In style, it is a building rather than a tabernacle (tent). In origin, it is not made with hands (by God, born of God) rather than born of man. In duration it is eternal rather than temporal (dissolves). It is life versus mortality. It is present with God versus at home in the body.

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