"We know that if our earthly house, this tent, were to be destroyed, we have an eternal building of God in the heavens, a house not made with hands. In this one we groan, earnestly desiring to be sheltered with our house which is from heaven. Thus being sheltered, we shall not be found unsheltered. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we wish to be unclothed, but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal might be swallowed up by life. Now He who has created us for this very thing is God, who also has given to us the guarantee of the Spirit. Therefore 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. Instead, I say that we are confident and willing to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
People long for immortality and are afraid of death. They search for ways to prolong life and put off the inevitable -- even for ways to restore earthly life after death. But all such efforts fail; for all, since the fall into sin, suffer death (cf. Gen. 3:17ff.).
The Bible tells us that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).
As Christians, we too long for immortality; but not for immortality in this sinful world. We long to live forever with Christ Jesus our Savior in the new heavens and the new earth which He has created for us (cf. Rev. 21:1ff.). We long to be clothed in our new and glorified bodies -- to have our mortal body changed into an immortal and sinless body, made to live forever with our God (cf. 1 Cor. 15:51ff.). It's not that we long for death; we long for life everlasting with Christ!
God has brought us to faith in Christ Jesus for this very purpose, that we might be saved from sin, eternal death and damnation, and be raised up to dwell with Him forever. He has given us His Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance in heaven. And so, we long for that day when we go to be with our Lord and Savior who shed His blood on the cross to redeem us and then rose again in eternal glory!
We know that when our earthly body dies and is laid in the grave, our soul goes to be with the Lord, which is far better than life in this world. With the Apostle Paul, we confess: "For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor to me. Yet I do not know what I shall choose. I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better" (Phil. 1:21-23).
And, when Christ, our crucified and risen Savior, returns, He will raise up our mortal bodies and change them into glorified and immortal bodies made to live with Him forever in heaven (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:35ff.)!
Therefore, we as believers in Christ can also say with the Apostle Paul: "Our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our body of humiliation, so that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His power even to subdue all things to Himself."
Dear Savior Jesus Christ, grant us faith to trust in You and long for that day when we shall dwell forever with You in Your eternal kingdom. Amen.
[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. More of Moll's devotional writings can be found at www.goodshepherdrogers.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]