New Clothing New Home (2 Cor 5:4)

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.” (2 Corinthians 5:4, KJV)

After I received my Honorable Discharge from the United States Army, I went to work for a corporation in the pulp and paper industry. There I worked as a project engineer in a business section involved in research and development. It was a big change for me. In the Army, my usual day involved putting on my military fatigues and combat boots and working in a motor-pool, often having to go into the field where it would either be muddy or dusty. Other than the few times when were in our dress uniforms, the work was often very dirty.

When I reported to work in the Research and Development office, I wore a suit and tie. My work place was in a climate-controlled office. I had a desk and chair in a small office cubical. Every day someone would bring a cart up to the office at about noon with coffee and donuts. When I did go to the field, it was to a manufacturing plant where I would analyze machinery operations and record data. There, I would sometimes wear a jacket and tie but most often it was business casual. If the business trip was overnight, I would stay in a hotel and eat restaurant food.

I am not saying that my job in research and development was better than that of the military. They were just different. This difference involved my normal working attire and the environment in which I worked. In this case, there was a direct association between my clothing and the place where I spent my time.

Often what we wear is a function of our environment or position. Often the differences in our attire from one environment to another is drastic. However, there is no more drastic a change than that of moving from our earthly “tabernacle,” our temporal body on earth, to our heavenly existence. Paul indicated that when the earthly body is no more, believers will be clothed with heavenly spiritual bodies.

The full extent of the difference between the earthly and heavenly body is still somewhat of a mystery. The reason is that none of us on this side of heaven have yet experienced it. Yet here, Paul gives us a glimpse into how this new home for our soul will be. He mentioned that now we in this “tabernacle do groan, being burdened.” This life and our earthly bodies experience griefs that cause us to groan or sigh. Yet in our spiritual bodies, in heaven, there will be no more groaning. Our groaning will be replaced with laughter and happiness. In this earthly body, we experience many burdens. The verb translated “being burdened,” bareo, means to be weighed down (Strong G916). In life we are weighed down by physical and emotional pressures. When we are in our spiritual bodies in heaven, the pressures of life will be gone and we will experience an overwhelming sense of freedom from them.

When Paul wrote that “we would be unclothed, but clothed upon,” he referred again to the fact that we would “not be found naked” (v3). Believers will not be disembodied souls but will have tangible and identifiable bodies, ones that are imperishable. In our spiritual bodies, we will move from mortality to immortality. The earthly body is temporal, while the heavenly body is eternal. We will experience eternal life in its fullest. We will never again be influenced by disease, deformity, or death.

How do we respond to such blessing? Let us praise the Lord for His love that made all this possible. He loves us and gave Himself for us (Gal 2:20) so that we could put on immortality.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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