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The Scriptorium

Longing for Life

Now and forever. 2 Corinthians 5.1-5

2 Corinthians 5 (1)

Pray Psalm 40.1-3.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.

Sing Psalm 40.1-3.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
I waited patiently for God; He inclined and heard my cry,
lifted me up above the sod, set me on a Rock on high!
New songs in my mouth He gave; may He through me many save.

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 5.1-5.

1. What do we have beyond this present mortality?

2. What happens when we die?

Note how Paul distinguishes between “life” and “mortality” (v. 4). These are not the same, although, in our secular age, they are typically equated. “Mortality” refers to life in our “earthly house” (v. 1), that is, our body of flesh. “Life” refers to what we possess after “mortality” has run its course; “life” is to be “clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (v. 2).

Except that we are even now, here in our mortal flesh, beginning to participate in that life through the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3). Heaven has come down to us, and glory fills our souls so that the earthen vessels of our mortal bodies become agents of eternal grace to a dying world. We rejoice having already overcome our mortality by the life we have in Jesus.

And yet we groan, longing to be fully and finally clothed with life. We shall have to pass through a season of purgation on the way to that (1 Cor. 3.11-15), but it will be brief, no more than the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15.51-54). Knowing the eternal joy that awaits beyond the veil of mortality, we groan with longing, looking into the unseen realm and eagerly anticipating the day when what remains of our mortality will be swallowed up by life (v. 4).

How do we know this? How can we be so sure? God has told us. Jesus has opened the way through the veil of mortality. And we have the Spirit of God as a down payment of life (v. 5); He is the guarantee that we have entered within the veil and shall dwell with the Lord in life forever.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul posed this premise: “…if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed…” (2 Cor. 5.1), knowing full well that it will be destroyed. His purpose was not to deal with whether this was true, but to prove that all God’s words are true. So true, in fact, that He has given us His Holy Spirit as a Guarantee, a Comforter, and a Reiterator of all that has been spoken to us beforehand; and to be with us until all comes to fruition.

“God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Gen. 1.3). In the beginning it was so, and it is still so today. “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants” (Ps. 119.89-91). Creation spoken and guaranteed.

Isaiah prophesied, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…” (Is. 9.6, 7).
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Lk. 2.10, 11). John the Baptist said of this One, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1.29). Jesus’ arrival promised and guaranteed.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3.14, 15). “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn. 12.32). His ghastly, saving death foretold. Guaranteed.

“But the angel answered and said… ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said’” (Matt. 28.5, 6). His guaranteed resurrection accomplished just as He said it would be.

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Lk. 16.17).
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Lk. 21.33).
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is. 40.8). His word is guaranteed to never fail. It never has, and it never will.

When God says something, we must believe and act on it because it is true, it will stand, and it will come to pass. Therefore, “knowing the eternal joy that awaits beyond the veil of mortality, we groan with longing, looking into the unseen realm and eagerly anticipating the day when what remains of our mortality will be swallowed up by life.” Satisfaction guaranteed, forever, with an eternal life-warranty.

For reflection
1. Why is it important for us to hold to the distinction between “mortality” and “life”?

2. How does the Holy Spirit serve as our guarantee of life when our mortality is through?

3. How does the Spirit guarantee that we have life already, even before our mortality is through?

In our Father’s house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell...
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5.1-8

Pray Psalm 40.9-13.
Pray that God will give you an opportunity today to encourage a fellow believer with the promise of life. Ask God to let you share the hope you have in Him with a friend or neighbor whose face is still veiled to life in Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 40.9-13.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
LORD, Your truth will I proclaim to Your people gathered ‘round,
nor will I my lips restrain—let Your precious ways resound!
Of Your saving grace and Word I would speak, most loving L

Keep Your mercy not from me; let Your love and truth prevail.
Evil and iniquity make my trembling heart to fail.
ORD, be pleased to rescue me! Let my shelter with You be.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today needs revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available by 
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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