The Tent – Camping Out

Scripture Ref: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

If you’ve ever gone camping, you know it’s a lot of fun…but not for very long. After a few days, you start longing for things. It’s a temporary situation.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul compared our physical bodies to a tent. “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” (v. 1).

When we move from this tent, this physical body, we go to a permanent temple, a house. Paul’s analogy in this passage is simple and clear. One is temporary (the tent); one is permanent (the house, the building). One is flimsy; one is sturdy. One is weak; one is strong.

Your body is like a tent: it’s temporary. After a while, the threads start to unravel, the flaps become more prominent, and it starts to leak. It’s just the nature of this temporary body. It’s interesting how some people want to make their tent look like it’s a brand-new model, younger than it really is. So they’ll stretch the flaps, and nip and tuck, and dye the threads. But it’s only temporary.

James went a step further and said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Our bodies are not meant to last. The tent will be taken down. In the last letter Paul ever wrote, he said, “The time of my departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6). The word departure means that it’s time to take down the tent and move on.

And we trade in the tent for “a building from God.” This is not referring to a mansion in heaven; in context, the building must be a reference to our glorified, resurrected body.

We are sure that’s really going to happen because verse 5 says, “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” The word guarantee could be translated down payment or first installment. If you give a down payment, it means you’re going to pay the rest off. Or if you give your girl an engagement ring, it means there’s going to be a wedding. And we’ve been given the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. You’ve noticed that you’ve changed since you gave your life to Christ. You have new desires, new hopes—the hope of heaven. All of that is a foretaste of what’s to come.

And as Paul said in verse 8, we’re confident, whether we’re in this body or in heaven. Because those are the only two places where God’s people can be not soul sleeping somewhere or in purgatory. You’re on earth as a believer, and the moment you leave this earth, you are in God’s presence.

We are only camping out here. There will come a time when the vapor will disappear, when the tent will be taken down for something more permanent. Those who don’t know God will have a body fit to endure everlasting punishment, and those who do know Him will have a body fit to experience and enjoy everlasting heaven. I pray if you don’t personally know Jesus or have slipped along the way, that in this interim we call time, you would make a choice to follow Him.

Fay-Ann Swearing
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