Sunday, April 18, 2010

Will You Spend Eternity With God?

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. (2 Corinthians 5:1-3)

Notice that the Apostle Paul contrasts our earthly bodies (“earthy house”) and our future resurrection bodies (“a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”) so we KNOW that we will be clothed in our heavenly bodies when Jesus returns.

Paul clearly states that our present bodies make us groan, but when we die we will not be spirits without bodies (“be found naked”). Suffering makes believers long for their glorious future in heaven (Romans 8:22-23). We will have new bodies that will be perfect for our everlasting life. Like Paul, we look forward not only to our resurrected body but also to the reward we will receive in the future.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 5:4-5)

The believer’s future experience is called life, meaning the full experience of eternal life in Christ. The life experience of the future is being determined by how we invest this life today. The Holy Spirit’s work in believers’ lives can be compared to a deposit or down payment. The presence of the Holy Spirit assures believers that God has purchased them. It is a GUARANTEE that our Lord has prepared a place for us. We are no longer slaves to sin, but His children. We WILL receive all the rights and privileges of children of God when our Savior returns or when we die, which ever comes first.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)

Because the believer has God’s guarantee (v. 5), we can be confident, a word that means “to be of good cheer” or “to be of courage.” Sight means “appearance.” Christ is not physically present, so believers live by faith (John 20:29). After the parenthetical thought of v. 7, Paul resumes where he left off in v. 6. He was not only confident (v. 6) that he was going to be with the Lord, he was pleased that he would be with the Lord after his death.

This is one of the passages in the New Testament that indicates where believers will go immediately after their death; they will be with Jesus in heaven (Phil. 1:23). Jesus’ promise to the repentant criminal on the cross next to Him indicates this: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)

Wanting to be with Christ (v. 8) produces the ambition to please Him (Luke 19:17). We strive to please the Lord not only because we know we will be with Him (v. 8) but also because He will evaluate our work—whether good or bad—and reward us accordingly.

The person unconcerned about doing good deeds shows a grave lack of vision. Appear means “to make visible” or “to make known.” Here it may refer to nothing more than an appearance, such as appearing in court before a judge. Or it may mean believers will stand before the Lord with their true character revealed. Receive means “to receive back,” “to get an equivalent,” or “to get one’s due.” The believer will be either approved or ashamed (2 Cor 5:3; Luke 19:11–26; 1 Cor. 3:14, 15; 9:27; 1 John 2:28; 2 John 7, 8). This truth should dramatically change the way we live, for our actions will be evaluated by our Master.

Only believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. The “great white throne” judgment described in Rev. 20:11–15 is for unbelievers. At His judgment seat, Jesus will determine a believer’s faithfulness to Him and reward each person appropriately (1 Cor. 3:11–15). This will not be a determination of one’s eternal destiny; that issue is decided the moment a person believes in Christ.

Knowing that in the future we will stand before Jesus Christ and face a review of our lives should motivate us to live righteously and faithfully in the present. How can we prepare for our eternal “audit”? Walk by faith not by sight (5:7). Develop a longing for heaven (5:8). Make it our chief aim in life to please the Lord (5:9). Keep the judgment seat of Christ in view (5:10).

Therefore indicates that this verse is a conclusion drawn from the previous one. The terror of the Lord is the fear of standing before the Lord and having one’s life exposed and evaluated. The reality of giving an account to the Lord motivated Paul to persuade people, in this context meaning to convince the Corinthians of his sincerity and integrity.

After studying and meditating on the above scriptures, can you now answer the question: Will You Spend Eternity With God? I can answer this by saying, YES, I will spend eternity with my Lord and Savior when I die.

Note: Some of the above information was taken out of the Nelson Bible Study.


Kelly said...

Great read! I know I will be spending eternity in Heaven.

Lloyd said...

Thank you Kelly for your visit and comment. I am so pleased to hear that you "KNOW" that you will be going to heaven when you die. There are so many Christians out there in the world that feel that there is no sure way to know for certain if a person is going to go to heaven. Thank God for His Blessed Assurance.

God bless, Lloyd