An Eternal House in the Heavens #5

Friday, March 24, 2017

“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 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

Today’s Scripture loops back to the close of chapter 4 (paraphrased): “looking not at the temporal things that are seen, but at the eternal things that are not seen.” Those invisible, eternal things are described in today’s Scripture onward.

Read today’s Scripture with its subsequent context: “[1] 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] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] 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.”

Our physical bodies are called “this tabernacle” (verses 1 and 4)—a hut or temporary shelter. The Apostle Peter used that term to describe his mortal body in 2 Peter 1:13,14. Job 14:22 says of man: “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.” Scripture provides a very interesting illustration here. The “soul” (“inward man;” 2 Corinthians 4:16)—the “real” person—is clothed by a body of “flesh” (“outward man;” 2 Corinthians 4:16). The flesh is without; the soul is within. Our physical bodies are temporary, to one day be shed, just as we remove our physical clothing. Our eternal souls, “unclothed,” will then be “clothed upon” by eternal bodies.

Second Corinthians chapter 5 switches from “our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved” (physical body, only temporary) to “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (new glorified body, lasting forever). Earth is not our permanent home—Heaven is! God’s purpose and plan is not to improve these earthly bodies that will die anyway. He has promised us a body fit for the heavenly places….

An Eternal House in the Heavens #4

Thursday, March 23, 2017

“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 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

We look again at 2 Corinthians chapter 4: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Notice how, in this the Dispensation of Grace, Scripture emphasizes the “inward man” more than the “outward man.” God is not interested in maintaining these fleshly bodies indefinitely. The Apostle Paul understood this, and we need to as well. What we can see with our physical eyes—including our debilitating physical bodies—is “temporal” (temporary). What we cannot see with our physical eyes—including our “building of God,” resurrected body—is “eternal.” Would you rather focus on the temporal or the eternal, friend?

Paul knew that, while he was enduring those persecutions in the ministry, they were merely a “light affliction.” The word “light” means “easy,” as in “light in weight.” Now, such sufferings were anything but easy to bear because they caused immense grief and pain. Still, compared to spiritual (and more important!) things, they really were “light” (yea, weightless). Those sufferings for Christ’s sake would result in a very heavy reward, one that would be greater than the “light affliction.” It would be “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!”

Friends, we cannot see with our physical eyes the reality of these verses. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We must adopt Almighty God’s view here, and we can only do this by faith (believing the verses). So, we proceed to read today’s Scripture with its succeeding verses, to see with spiritual eyes what God already sees….

An Eternal House in the Heavens #3

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“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 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

Chapter 4 says: “[7] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. [11] For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. [12] So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”

After delineating his various persecutions and bodily sufferings for the sake of conducting his Gospel ministry, Paul closed the chapter with: “[15] For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. [16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Like all of us, Paul was tempted to look at his (outward) circumstances. Trouble followed him wherever he went. Jewish unbelievers and Gentile unbelievers alike wanted him dead! His “outward man” (visible, physical body) endured numerous forms of torture, abuse, and degeneration (see chapter 11, verses 23-28). Eventually, it would “perish” (be destroyed), returning to the ground from whence it came. Still, Paul was more focused on the “inward man,” the invisible man, that which was “renewed day by day….”

An Eternal House in the Heavens #2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“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 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

A dear friend of mine has been entangled in the “Charismatic Movement” for years. She thus boasts of her “gift of healing.” (Her husband and one of her friends both died of cancer years back.) Afflicted by chronic illness herself, she talks about how she has visited her sick and aging friends in nursing homes, praying and “laying hands” on them to restore their health. (She still visits the same people at those same institutions!) While she has a testimony of salvation in Christ, she is a most confused lady concerning the Bible. She always seeks “signs and wonders” to know God is working.

Friends, since it has utterly failed to uphold the Word of God rightly divided, the Church the Body of Christ is largely caught up in thinking and behaving like Bible skeptics. You ask an atheist what it would take before he or she would “believe in God,” and he or she will probably reply, “If only I could see this miracle happen or that miracle occur, I would believe in God.” In other words, “I will not believe unless I see God working.” Friend, do you know anyone like that in Scripture?

Why, chapter John 20 says of “doubting Thomas:” “[25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe…. [27] Then saith [Jesus] to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. [29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

If only we would “believe without seeing….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What Gospel message did Lazarus believe to wind up in Abraham’s bosom?

An Eternal House in the Heavens #1

Monday, March 20, 2017

“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 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

Recently, I scanned religious television channels to find a familiar Bible teacher and his wife “teaching the Bible.” In the last century, his preacher father founded a major so-called “healing” ministry and college. The man died of heart problems, and “passed on the torch” to his son and his son’s wife.

Here was another generation of that family, still on television proclaiming “health and healing” and claiming “health and healing” Bible verses. They grabbed verses from Christ’s earthly ministry and the early Acts period, fervently trying to convince their viewers, “The power of God to heal is still here today! It is His will to heal you!” Of course, their bodies showed signs of aging. The man’s hands shook as he held his Bible. He and his wife’s faces, hands, and arms were wrinkled and covered in age spots. One day, they will go the way of his father, also succumbing to bodily illness, physical death, to pass on the “healing” ministry to someone else (who will also grow sick and die).

Verily, verily, friends, the Bible repeatedly demonstrates that Almighty God can heal sick bodies. However, just because we read about it in the Bible does not mean God is still doing that today. The Bible is divided into dispensations, or different instructions given by God for man to believe and obey during different time periods. Just as it is entirely inappropriate to take rules from one person’s household and force them onto another person’s household, so it is utterly wrong to grab one dispensation and try to mesh it with another dispensation. While God Himself never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), the Bible record is very clear that God’s dealings with man do in fact differ as one moves from Genesis through the Revelation. We would have to be dishonest with ourselves not to see the distinctions God has made throughout His Holy Word.

Friends, we have an eternal body promised us… just not here….

An Eternal Word, To Be Preached Forever

Sunday, March 19, 2017

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1,2 KJV).

In light of the abounding error (3:13), and considering the Scriptures can equip Christians to do God’s will (3:14-17), we are to never cease “preach[ing] [that] word!”

Two older friends of mine, a pastor and his wife, are celebrating their 30th year of ministry. I sent them a brief note voicing my appreciation of their faithfulness to upholding God’s Word rightly divided. The lady wrote back that they were thankful to Father God that younger men such as I would continue the work of the ministry once they graduated to Heaven. (Amen!)

No matter the point in human history, God has always had a testimony on Earth. Whether Noah, Elijah, or John the Baptist—all conducting ministries when so precious few believers were around—someone, somewhere, has always been preaching Almighty God’s Holy Word. They did not have a completed, written Bible, but they were faithful in sharing what divine revelation they had. How much more (!) should we—who do have a completed Bible—be faithful in declaring its truths to this lost and dying world?

Today’s Scripture makes an assumption. By commanding Timothy to “preach the word,” he would have to have the “Word” in the first place! As someone said, “There are many Bible agnostics today.” This is especially true of people in the ministry. They often do not believe they have a perfect Bible, just a “mere translation of flawed manuscripts.” While they in secret tell you that you do not have the Apostles’ original Bible in any language or version today, they publicly declare, “I believe, love, and defend the Bible.” As they privately discourage belief in Scripture, they preach from the pulpit, “The Bible is our final authority.” What foolishness!

Beloved, let us preach the “Word,” for we have the “Word” (King James Bible). Just as God’s words will last forever (Matthew 24:35), those words will always have a testimony in a human somewhere. If not us, God will have someone else do it! 🙂

Not the Righteous, But Sinners

Saturday, March 18, 2017

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13 KJV).

Jesus Christ came to save the bad people, not the “good!”

You have probably seen videos of police officers working in the field. They encounter people engaging in many activities—robbery or theft, domestic abuse, prostitution, extremely reckless driving, fighting, drunkenness, and drug use or drug dealing, to name a few. Due to their poor decisions, these souls are in some very tough situations. The religious crowd—puffed up in self-righteousness—dismisses these people as “hopelessly hell-bound.” However, these “sinners” are more likely to come to faith in Christ than those sitting in the church pews! Consider today’s Scripture.

Scripture says “many publicans and sinners came and sat down with [Jesus] and his disciples.” The Pharisees found this revolting! Why did Jesus not associate with them (these religious leaders)? How could He, a supposed “prophet of God” and “religious teacher,” eat with such dishonest publicans (tax collectors) and various “sinners” (people with bad reputations)? The Lord Jesus overheard His critics asking His disciples that question, and He responded: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

These publicans and sinners recognized their sin problem. They also saw Jesus as the only Physician who had the cure for their spiritual illness. Too caught up in religion and their own “goodness,” the Pharisees were content in condemning people who were humble enough to admit their sinfulness. We need many such “publicans and sinners” today, and far fewer “Pharisees!”