“For we know that if our earthly home of the current tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a home not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthians 5:1).
Home (Def): (Gr. Oikia from Oikos): Dwelling, Residence, Abode, House, Temple
All of us at the age of military service, college, or starting a career have left home to start with something new in our lives. Empty nesters know all about that and the tears shed in the departure. There is definitely a melancholy in leaving home, but also an excitement for the change and exploring the new environs.
The Apostle takes the typology of the earthly home and relates it to our earthly bodies in which dwells the eternal spirit of man. He equates the body with the clothing of the spirit, just as we all wear clothing over our bodies, so as not to be naked.
“For in this house we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven, if be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked” (II Corinthians 5:2-3).
The truth is eventually our earthly house will crumble, or be dissolved, and we will leave our earthly home for our new dwelling place in the heavens. Our new dwelling place will be our immortal home wherein our spirit shall dwell forever in the Spirit of Christ, our Lord. The Apostle says God prepared us for leaving home by giving us the “earnest of the Spirit” (II Corinthians 5:5), the down payment for all that awaits us in Christ Jesus in the age to come.
While we are in the earth realm God gave us His Holy Spirit as a Helper and a Presence as we walk by faith and not by sight (cf. II Corinthians 5:7).
Leaving home was always a conscious awareness among the Apostles, and was more so with the Apostle Peter, as he had been given specific words from Jesus regarding his departure (cf. John 21:18). Peter makes reference to this in his second Epistle writing: “Yea, I think it meet as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me” (II Peter 1:13-14).
To the Philippians Paul wrote: “If I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet, what I shall choose I know not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith. That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again” (Philippians 1:22-26).
Do you ever think about your leaving home? Have you resolved your departure in your heart? Are you at peace with it? Do you know you have an eternal home in the heavens? It is good to meditate upon these things, so you are prepared whenever the time for your departure may come. You are not too young to be prepared for no one is guaranteed life and breath and to live to old age.
The Apostles lived with the reality of martyrdom daily. Paul wrote to Timothy “For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand” (II Timothy 4:6). Shortly thereafter he was executed by order of Caesar according to tradition.
Before leaving the Apostle gave us those immortal words, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).
Leaving home is the grist of living out our lives in faithful service to the Lord. We live in confidence and “willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him” (II Corinthians 5:8-9).
Willing to leave, willing to stay. Willing to fight, willing to pray. Willing to serve every day in service to the King.