The Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Our Longing to Be Clothed

Here we have a very intriguing passage by the Apostle.  He has just spoken of the fact that it is the unseen world that is “really real,” and the visible world that is so very transient.  He now builds on this, but in a very personal way, regarding the believer’s “longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,” that when this “tent that is our earthly home is destroyed,” we not be “unclothed” but “further clothed,” our mortal state being swallowed up in life.  This is strange language—existing in a “tented”-state, then unclothed, then re-clothed, and longing for this further clothing—what does it all mean?

In the first place, Paul merely speaks of the believer’s desire to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  We have this longing because He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee.  Though the Christian may enjoy the things God has richly provided for him in this life with modesty and charity, he knows that there is a better life, one in which communion with God is uninterrupted, which is the genuine believer’s most sincere hope.  The older he grows, the more he realizes that this world truly holds nothing for him.

But even so, to get to that state of being with God, there is a line which must be crossed, a line called “death,” and there are few who cross it without some reticence.  Paul speaks of a fear of being “unclothed,” that is, in a disembodied state, without the clothing of a body.  In touching on this, even if in a cryptic sort of way, Paul refers to that “intermediate state” which believers occupy between death and the resurrection of their bodies on the last day.  The Jew struggled to reconcile himself with such a state, for God made us embodied people and so to be without a body was considered incomplete.  And they were right.  If you will only consider it for just a moment, you will shudder at the notion of being what the ancients, both Jew and pagan, called a “shade,” “shadow,” lacking all substance, a mere puff of smoke. 

Well, the beauty of our faith is that the intermediate state is just that—intermediate.  When this tent is destroyed, as it necessarily must be, barring being caught up while still alive on that day, we will spend some time (whatever time is in eternity) unclothed, untented, unbodied.  But that will only be temporary.  We will be further clothed in a glorious body consonant with the one we now have—incorruptible, undefiled, immortal—suitable to our new heavenly state.  And no clothing store today can top that!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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