Rebecca Van Noord
Paul, the tent maker, knew the temporal nature of human-made structures. For someone who made and probably repaired tents, he knew all their flaws and tendencies for wear. So it’s not a stretch for him to draw the connection from tents to mortality:
“For we know that if our earthly house, the tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1).
Paul is also making a connection to the tabernacle, the tent where the Israelites first regularly experienced God. Like the tents that Paul made, these earthly homes for God would eventually break down and be destroyed. But the Spirit and the heavens, where God actually dwelled, would live on. While temporal tent worship would fall apart, eternal worship in God’s heavenly “building” will remain.
Paul contrasts the art of tent-making and the beautiful worship places of Yahweh with God’s work (what He actually made), which was incorruptible. Right now, we have a “building from God” waiting for us—eternity made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.
He stresses that our eternal reality transforms our “meantime.” It clarifies what “we have as our ambition, whether at home in the body or absent from the body, to be acceptable to him” (2 Cor 5:9). While waiting, we don’t have to live with longing. We don’t need to escape. We can live for Him, spreading the news that the kingdom of God is at hand. Until then, God has given us someone who comforts us: the Holy Spirit (John 17). He reminds us of our eternal confidence and empowers us to live for God.
How would your perspective change if you looked at your daily tasks in light of eternal significance?
This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.