I like camping. I like camping in tents (unless of course it’s 80+ degrees). And I’ve camped in some pretty rocky weather where I’ve wondered if my tent was gonna’ hold up or if I’d be sleeping in my truck the rest of the night. But I don’t LIVE in a tent, it’s only a temporary place to stay. Paul uses this analogy in the first part of today’s chapter. “Earthly tent” = our body, a hut, “building/eternal house” = our new body in heaven, a permanent, secure structure. Just as the Israelites replaced tabernacle with the temple, so believers will someday exchange their dying bodies for new, eternal ones. Until then, “we groan”. I know this sounds like something an old person with aches & pains would say, but this groaning is actually the longing to be free from sin and be with Jesus!
So what keeps you going in this life? Paul mentions two things for him here: First, the hope of being with Jesus, living by faith, not by sight. Second, was the reality of giving an account of his life to Jesus some day. Ummm…………yep – those two work for me too!
The rest of the chapter focuses on what I call the “GREAT EXCHANGE!” Paul writes, “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” Paul wanted a good evaluation from God (10) and was compelled by Christ’s love that we should “…no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Life in Christ is new life: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!“ And with this new life, God gives ALL believers a job description: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Sweeeeet! My job (& yours) is to be God’s rep here on earth, helping people know how to get right with Him! That’s it. And the next verse is the “Great Exchange”, the best deal ever: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” So God, takes my sin, puts it on Jesus and takes His perfection and puts it on me & I’m made right with God for eternity – WOWSA! Wal-mart, Blockbuster, the Mall or any place in eternity can’t get you a better deal!!!
*How do you feel about death? Are you ready to say with Paul that you “…would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”? If not, what is keeping you from desiring this?
*What compels you to live each day? Stuff? Recognition? Etc…? What compels you to no longer live for yourself but for Jesus?
*What do you want to be in life: Doctor? Accountant? Veterinarian? Pastor? Mom? Whatever career we choose, you and I are first and foremost God’s ambassadors, His representatives here on earth. So…….how’s that goin’ for ya’? Are you a good one?
*We all like a good deal. And when we get one, we tell everyone about it! You & I deserve punishment from God for our sins but are offered eternity in heaven instead when we believe! There is no greater deal in all of eternity and we should be telling all our friends that hey can have the same deal! Will you tell someone today? Take a moment right now and ask God for both the opportunity and then courage to speak up! Lord help us, compel us and please use us!