For In This We Groan #4

Friday, May 31, 2013

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:2 KJV).

Having been stricken with a bacterial infection of the sinuses and eyes for the past week, I can give a hearty “Amen!” to today’s Scripture!

Physical death is actually a blessing for us Christians—it severs the final link we have to this fallen creation. (Can you imagine living in these bodies forever?) Once we leave these physical bodies, we are eternally, physically isolated from sin, and we go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever!

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul writes that God the Father has given us “the earnest of the Spirit.” “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (verses 5b-8). By giving us Christians the indwelling Holy Ghost, God has guaranteed that He will one day rescue our physical bodies from sin (just as He has already rescued our spiritual bodies from sin).

While we moan and groan during sickness, let us remember that this body is not meant to last forever anyway, for it would be pollute heaven. Our suffering is simply a testament that the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ still has a mighty work to accomplish—the redemption of these mortal “vile” bodies and their transformation into immortal and perfect glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s (Philippians 3:20,21).

Dear readers, take comfort. This limited body of flesh and blood is not our permanent abode. It is merely the vehicle that carries around our soul and our spirit in this time-space continuum we call the natural world. As today’s Scripture states, it is actually our soul that is groaning, the “real” us inside this weakly and sickly physical body. How we long for a change of clothes, some which will not turn to rags! Patiently waiting for the “wardrobe upgrade….” 🙂

For In This We Groan #3

Thursday, May 30, 2013

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:2 KJV).

Having been stricken with a bacterial infection of the sinuses and eyes for the past week, I can give a hearty “Amen!” to today’s Scripture!

Notice the boldfaced expressions, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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 5:2-4).

According to the Bible, our physical bodies are actually clothing. The “real” us is inside, a member of the invisible (spiritual) realm! Job 14:22 supplements: “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.” These aching, sickly physical bodies are merely vehicles for our soul and spirit inside them (hence, the language of the passage in the previous paragraph about “clothing”).

We who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ are redeemed spiritually from Satan and sin. However, these bodies of flesh and blood are still connected genetically to Adam and the fallen creation, so they die. Once they die, our souls and spirits no longer have a means of traveling. This is why resurrection is necessary. Our “unclothed” souls and spirits need new garments, and this new wardrobe is the glorified body the Lord Jesus will give every Christian believer at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). This is the “redemption of our body” mentioned in Romans 8:23 and Ephesians 4:30.

Our physical bodies are referred to as “tabernacles” in Scripture (2 Corinthians 5:1,4; 2 Peter 1:13,14). When we are conceived in the womb, these frail structures are “pitched,” and our soul and spirit spring up from within them. Unlike a permanent structure, however, they can and do suffer “dilapidation” quite easily. Eventually, they are “taken down.” But, the soul and spirit simply move on (necessitating the need for a new, resurrected and glorified body, a new set of clothes)….

For In This We Groan #2

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:2 KJV).

Having been stricken with a bacterial infection of the sinuses and eyes for the past week, I can give a hearty “Amen!” to today’s Scripture!

In this world where Satan and sin reign, sickness is a part of life as well. Our “groaning” in today’s Scripture is further explained in Romans 8:22-25: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Paul writes in the context of today’s Scripture, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). This is the “redemption of our [physical] body” of Romans 8:23, when “the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ… shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body…” (Philippians 3:20,21).

When the apostle pens, “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5), what he meant was, “[Christ] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise(Ephesians 1:13). “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

This sealing by and with the indwelling Holy Spirit is God’s promise that He will one day deliver our (ailing) physical bodies from sin just as He has already delivered our spiritual bodies from sin….

For In This We Groan #1

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:2 KJV).

Having been stricken with a bacterial infection of the sinuses and eyes for the past week, I can give a hearty “Amen!” to today’s Scripture!

Earlier, in chapter 4, verse 16, the Apostle Paul discussed the issue of the corruptible, dying physical body (“the outward man”), and the spiritual body (“the inward man”) experiencing renewal and maturity: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

In chapter 5, verse 1, the thought continues: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Today’s Scripture follows: “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”

Let us read verses 3-8, which elaborate even more: “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 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. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

When the Holy Spirit through Paul wrote, “yet the inward man is renewed day by day,” He was referring to this doctrine transforming the way we view sickness. As Christians, we should look at bodily suffering differently than the lost world views it, than our old sin nature would have us think about it.

Let us briefly dissect this passage, to the intent that we can be comforted during times of illness….

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 27, 2013

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero.” It can be read here or watched here.

Why Do the Wicked Prosper? #7

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb (Psalm 37:1,2 KJV).

“Why do the wicked prosper?” is an “age-old” question the Bible answered ages ago….

According to its context, today’s Scripture is actually referring to the end of Satan’s evil world system: “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (verses 9-11). Jesus Christ quoted this—“The meek shall inherit the earth”—in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:5), referring to believing Jews who will inherit His millennial earthly kingdom, when Satan is bound and his policy and its adherents are removed from earth and then ultimately confined to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-15)!

“The wicked plotteth against the just [believers], and gnasheth upon him with his teeth” (Psalm 37:12). Now, behold verse 13, “The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.” Today’s Scripture amplifies that just as one would mow a lawn and cut down tall grass, so the Lord Jesus Christ, with a righteous sword, will sever the (haughty, prosperous) wicked from earth at His Second Coming! “For in one hour so great riches is come to nought(Revelation 18:17a).

Return to Psalm 10, the thoughts of the believing Jews being persecuted for righteousness’ sake in the Tribulation. Note verses 12,15: “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble…. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.” This is Christ’s Second Coming, when He defeats Satan’s antichrist. Finally, verse 16: “The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.” There is the earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ, and Satan’s evil world system and its followers are removed!

Why Do the Wicked Prosper? #6

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb (Psalm 37:1,2 KJV).

“Why do the wicked prosper?” is an “age-old” question the Bible answered ages ago….

Over halfway into the seven-year Tribulation, the antichrist will institute a religion that worships him (reminiscent of Satan’s original desire). The antichrist’s religious leader, the “false prophet,” will execute those who refuse to worship the antichrist’s idol (Revelation 13:15). “He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (verses 16,17).

The Lord Jesus Christ’s believing Jews will reject the antichrist’s mark, name, and number (Revelation 20:4), so, according to the Bible, will they be able to buy or sell? NO! Frankly, the evil world system will not care less as Israel’s believing remnant starves, goes homeless, and perishes! However, God will use believing Gentiles to assist some of these Messianic Jews (see Jesus Christ’s comments in Matthew 25:31-46, noting also the unbelieving Gentiles and their mistreatment of believing Israel). According to our Lord, those believing Gentiles will inherit Israel’s earthly kingdom with the Jews—remember, we, the Church the Body of Christ, are not in this passage.

Believing Israel will suffer greatly (imprisoned, starved, beheaded, et cetera) while the unbelievers will enjoy economic rewards for following the devil and his antichrist. The religious element of the antichrist’s regime is described in Revelation chapter 17. Note its “gold, precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand…” (verse 4)—material riches! Read about the economic element of the antichrist’s regime in Revelation chapter 18, and notice: “that great city [Babylon], that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” (verse 16)—more material riches!

During the Tribulation, the wicked will prosper, but today’s Scripture is God’s comfort to His suffering Jewish believers….