Article of the Month
The Apostle Paul
on Earthly and Heavenly “Houses”
In one sense, this article is a follow-up
on the article of last month (September, 2015).
In both contexts, Paul is dealing with a
Christian’s human life versus his spiritual
This article deals with II Corinthians 4:16 through
4:16-18 Paul is admonishing that faith be maintained
even though our human bodies are failing.
He comforts that, if we are living up to our
privileges in Christ, our “inner man” (our “new
creature” — our Christian mind) is growing daily.
Thus the “light affliction” of our human
existence is working toward the eternal, unseen glories
that cannot be compared to the temporary human setbacks.
In Chapter 5, Paul continues in order to deal with the
concepts of a Christian’s death.
He refers to our human bodies as an “earthly
tent” or earthly “house.”
This does not imply an indwelling “immortal
Bible never mentions “immortal soul,” nor does it even
This “house” refers to our humanity which is the current
or “house” for our Christian
Paul shows that a Christian’s resurrection will
be to a spirit body.
The “thought processes” of our current existence
will, in the “first resurrection,” receive new
That, of course, is the Christian’s hope of the
The world, by contrast, will have their thought
processes implanted in new human bodies in the general
resurrection of the dead — yet future.
So in 5:1, Paul
shows our current existence.
He says that this current (human) “house” can be
He means, we can die.
But he continues to show the Christian’s
spiritual-body hope when he writes:
“We have a building from God, a house, not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
He is referring to “the first resurrection.”
(Revelation 20:6; Acts 24:15)
In verse 2, Paul confirms that we
“groan” in this human “house.”
This is because it undergoes all of the pains and
experiences of fallen man.
He affirms that this “groaning” makes us long for
the spiritual resurrection — “our dwelling from heaven.”
[Our wordings are from the New American Standard
Verse 3 poses difficulties for
those whose understandings of death and resurrection are
says, “inasmuch as we, having put it on [the spiritual
“house”], shall not be found naked.”
“Naked” is the Apostle’s code word for DEAD.
In other words, Paul is saying that (1) we can be
alive as humans, (2) we can be alive once the “first
resurrection” is accomplished, or (3) we can be DEAD =
thought processes occur without a “body” (either earthly
Paul is using “naked” to represent that
least-desirable condition of death, the condition in
which we have no body, thoughts, or existence
(Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10).
It is the condition which he and all other
Christians would have to accept until the “first
resurrection” at the time of Jesus’ return.
(I Corinthians 15:50-54; I Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Thus, in verse 4, Paul summarizes the three possible
In verse 5, Paul shows
that God gives Christians
a “pledge” (or down payment or security) of our
eventual heavenly “house” by granting us the Holy Spirit
in our lives.
In verses 6-10 there is a wonderful passage which
explains our mental state as a result of that “pledge”
of a heavenly “house.”
To understand these verses we must understand
Paul’s use of two Greek words.
They are, in essence, the same word except that
one is the negative form of the other.
The two words (in English) are both found in
They are “absent” and “at home.”
Their true meaning is uncomfortable and
We, often, in daily living, tell someone, “Make
yourself at home.”
We mean, “Make yourself comfortable.”
That is exactly the meaning of “at home” in these
“Absent” means the OPPOSITE — “uncomfortable.”
Knowing this, we can see the meaning of verses
6-10 — a meaning very different from what many
Verse 5 said that we have a “pledge” that we have a
promised heavenly “house” (or body).
Verse 6 follows the thought with “Therefore.”
Paul’s meaning is that this Holy Spirit given to
us (as a pledge) should have a certain effect on
our daily lives.
To paraphrase verses 6-10:
Keep up your courage.
If we are comfortable as
humans, we are not really staying with the Lord.
uncomfortable with spiritual things.
This is true because our
walk is by faith; our human life is by sight.
So, if we have the courage of our faith, we prefer
uncomfortable with our humanity and to be thus
comfortable with the Lord.
Therefore, we have as our
whether our flesh is comfortable or uncomfortable,
to please God.
After all, we must now as Christians all appear before
Lord’s judgment standards.
This means that the way we use
our human powers, good or bad, will determine our
This is a lovely passage when rightly understood.
In combination with last month’s consideration,
we have a wonderful testimony from the Apostle Paul
regarding how we value and use our current lives.
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