While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God Himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee He has given us His Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.2 Corinthians 5:4-8
What a strange title – Longing for Death. Christianity must be pretty morbid. Who on earth would want to join it? People sitting around pontificating and longing for death. I couldn’t think of anything worse. But that is effectively what Paul is saying. He is longing for death. Well to be more exact, longing for what lies beyond the grave.
“we groan and sigh”- where does that come from? We have already dealt with that in Romans 8:19-25 (Bible Gem 196). Creation is longing for redemption and the revealing of the sons (and daughters) of God.
“It’s not that we want to die, rather we want to put on our new bodies.”
We already have the guarantee. (also Rom 8:23)
“As long as we live in these bodies we are not home.”
“We would rather be away from these earthly bodies and home with the Lord.”
These are powerful statements. And it is not like Paul has just waxed eloquent on this one occasion. Look at what he says in Phil 1:21-24. “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
Paul is absolutely convinced of the truth of this Gospel he preaches. These are no idle words. This is not just some theoretical idea he has got on to. Not some new philosophy he discovered on Mars Hill. Paul believes this is Truth. He believes this so much that it revolutionised his life. Paul speaks from the experience of putting it into practise. Remember in the verses in the chapter before this Paul has told us his realisation of this treasure contained in ostraca. This treasure is wrapped up in human frailty, in vessels made to be broken, so that the outer physical things maybe be broken to reveal the true, pure, eternal treasure beneath. Hence we go through these difficult things we have experienced in order to bring about a spiritual reality. God uses all of these hard things to fill us with His Glory. The beatings, the persecution, the shipwrecks, the hard things of life in order for us to realise that everything works for the accomplishment of His purpose in us.
When that happens, the deposit of the Holy Spirit in us bears witness to the fact of Gospel of Christ. This is not theoretical; it is something that Paul laid down his life for. Many times Paul suffered for Christ, suffered because of his belief in the Gospel of Christ. He was so convinced of the truth of this that he KNEW to die was better than to live. The fact of eternal life is so certain that indeed it is better to die and move from life into life eternal, the life of the age to come. It is the same truth that changed timid fearful disciples into men bold enough to turn their world upside down. They were willing to risk their lives for Christ and the truth of the gospel. It is the reason why many Christians from the 1st Century to this present day can die boldly, submitting themselves as martyrs in the hands of their persecutors, because they are convinced when they die they will be with Christ.
This is powerful stuff. I could say it is life and death stuff. It is actually life and life stuff. Life as we know it now and life as God meant it to be beyond the grave. The Life of the Age to Come which i have spoken about before. Which would you choose? It’s a no-brainer really, isn’t it? Yes it was for Paul too. There is no comparison between the two. The worst they can do to us is actually the best they can do. When you truly believe the Gospel of Christ, death holds no fear for you. When you die you go beyond the grave into the beginning of eternal life in Him. Death holds no fear because Christ is the first to rise from the dead and has opened the way for all who believe to follow. Therefore Paul says we long to be home with the Lord. We long for death. Strange but true. There is a deep life truth here. Make it yours and you will live forever in the kind of life that God first intended. Now you have to admit that is GOOD NEWS.
Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.Philip Yancey
No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace.Anon