Let’s start out by reading 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our OUTWARD MAN is perishing, yet the inward man is being renew day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (NKJV).

In this passage the Apostle Paul is comforting believers who are going through trials, especially trials of “physical affliction.” He reminds them (and us!) that our “outward man is perishing.” This refers to our BODY which is indeed MORTAL and will one day PERISH, which means it will DIE. Paul then speaks of the trials we face in the body as a “light affliction” which, from God’s vantage point, “is but for a moment.” Now let’s face it, when our bodies are racked with pain for any length of time we do NOT consider it a “light affliction” that is only for a “for a moment,” but in light of what awaits us (“a far more exceeding and ETERNAL WEIGHT of glory”), it actually is just that. God wants us to take our eyes off of “things that are seen” and focus our eye of faith on “the things which are not seen.” In doing so we will be focused on ETERNITY (and the coming GLORY) and not on that which is TEMPORARY (the sufferings in this life). A verse that speaks of this same subject is Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Now let’s read 2nd Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our EARTHLY HOUSE, this TENT, is destroyed, we have a BUILDING from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” I trust you can see the obvious connection with what we have just seen. Paul had just spoken of the temporary nature of our body by saying “our outward man is perishing.” Here he likens the body unto a “tent.” A tent is NOT a permanent place to live in but something used for “pilgrims and strangers” as they pass through a place away from home. The believer is indeed a “pilgrim and a stranger,” for we are just passing through this world on our way to heaven (see 1st Peter 1:17 & 2:11). Our body is the “temporary house” we are living in and when we die “our TENT will be taken down (the body is buried in a grave) and we (our spirit and soul) will go to be with the Lord. Paul emphasizes this in verse 8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Yet the time is coming when we will indeed receive a new, glorified body and in our verse this is looked upon as a “building,” which speaks of a permanent dwelling place. He also adds that this building is “from God” because God is the One who will give us this new body. It is said to be “a house not made with hands.” What does that mean? I believe it means that it will be a body that is not made for the “present creation” that we are living in, that is, for the earth. Hebrews 9:11 confirms this thought, for it says, “but Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle NOT MADE WITH HANDS, that is, NOT OF THIS CREATION.” Our “present bodies” were made for life on earth, but our “new, glorified bodies” will be made for heaven! In 1st Corinthians 15 Paul takes up the subject of resurrection and the bodies we will receive and he makes this wonderful statement in verse 40, “There are also CELESTIAL (heavenly) BODIES and TERRESTIAL (earthly) BODIES; but the glory of the celestial in one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Before we die we possess an “earthly body” but after we die we will inhabit a “terrestrial body.” Our verse ends by teaching us that our new, glorified bodies are “eternal in the heavens.” They will NEVER get sick or die, but will endure eternally in our heavenly home. Praise God for the future that awaits each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! (269.9) (DO)