2 Corinthians 5: Groaning for Glory

This entry is part 159 of 159 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

If the resurrection is true, then how we live matters. Every choice we make has an impact on our lives, showing whether we find our identity based on our “earth suit” or on our spiritual life. Investing our earthly life wisely involves looking ahead to eternity and living in light of the judgment seat of Christ, longing for the glory to come..

Groaning for Glory

Paul begins 2 Corinthians 5 by using the metaphor of a tent. Our “earthly tents”—our bodies—will not last forever. But one day, God will resurrect us with a new body, a “house not made with hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Knowing this does not mean we can dismiss our bodies here on earth, however. Although this life is temporary, it still matters. We should do all things with the resurrection in mind, groaning for glory (2 Corinthians 5:2). We wait eagerly for the resurrection, longing for what is to come.

How do we know that we will have this new resurrected body? God has given us a downpayment on our new “house”—the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is our “pledge” that God will bring about what He has promised (v. 5). The Spirit reminds us that this world is not our true home, and that our citizenship is in heaven. He stirs up in us a longing for our true home, when we will be clothed and made like Christ (Philippians 3:20–21).

Although we do not know exactly what our new “house” will look like, we do know that it will be like Christ’s. In Scripture, we see several characteristics of Christ’s resurrected body:

  • Substantial
  • Glorified
  • Recognizable
  • Completely different
  • Perfect

Our new bodies will be sinless and will reflect God’s glory, and we will have an increased capacity to appreciate, worship, and understand God and His revelation.

A New Creation in Christ

Every one of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the bēma, when He comes again. Now, those of us who are in Christ have no reason to be afraid—His righteousness clothes us, and we are a new creation in Christ. But we do build works on the foundation of His salvation. Because He died for us and rose again, we now live in Him and live for Him. We do good works through His power (Ephesians 2:10) while we are in this life.

Part of living for Christ involves seeing other people as eternal beings. Instead of looking at other believers’ faults, we instead ought to see them as a new creation in Christ. After all, every one of us will struggle with sin in this life, but that is not our ultimate identity. No matter how society construes us, we are new creations, groaning for glory as we anxiously wait for Christ to return.

As new creations reconciled by Christ, God has called us to a ministry of “reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are ambassadors to a world that is passing away, bringing with us the message that Christ became sin on our behalf so that “we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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