Difficult Texts

"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: .... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

In verses 1-8, Paul is contrasting the present mortal state with the future immortal life in heaven. Notice the expressions he uses for the two conditions:

earthly house .......... building of God
this tabernacle .......... house not made with hands
mortality .......... our house which is from heaven
in the body .......... absent from the body
absent from the Lord .......... present with the Lord

Paul speaks of being clothed with "our house which is from heaven" Verse 2. He longs "that mortality might be swallowed up of life." Verse 4. But the key to the entire discourse lies in the description of a third condition. After desiring to be clothed with immortality, Paul states that "being clothed we shall not be found naked." Verse 3. Putting it yet another way, he said, "Not for that we would be unclothed." Verse 4.

Clearly the naked or unclothed state was neither mortality nor immortality, but death and the grave. Paul realised that one did not pass instantly from being clothed with this tabernacle into being clothed with our house from heaven. Death and the grave came in between, and he referred to this as being unclothed and naked.

In another text Paul spelled out exactly when that change from mortality would take place. In 1 Corinthians 15:52, 53, he wrote, "The trumpet shall sound ... and this mortal must put on immortality." That will be when Jesus comes.

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