Paul’s life is shaped by his awareness that this is but his first, his earthly life, and there is eternity to come, “for we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2Corinthians 5:1). We are not long for this life is Paul’s point, so don’t settle in. I understand now in my sixties better than when I was sixteen Paul’s words, “for in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2Corinthians 5:2), and there is nothing wrong with that, but not too fast, there is work to be done.
“We are ambassadors for Christ,” says Paul, “God making his appeal through us on behalf of Christ’ (2Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is a citizen of one kingdom living in another, representing his home country to a foreign land. Jesus is King and eternity is our home, but there are many who still make this world their home and do not know there is more yet to come.
There is good news and bad news, however. Bad news first. Between now and eternity stands judgment–“we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2Corinthians 5:10), and that is bad news, because none of us have been all that good, not good enough for a heavenly dwelling. Now, the good news, and as ambassadors, we bring it. For our sake God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:21). Jesus gets your sin and gives you his righteousness. It is an incredible offer, profoundly unfair, and you win. Take the deal!
Heavenly Father, You are holy and good. Your Son has taken the penalty of death for my sin and given me the reward of life through his righteousness. Thank You so much!
May I rid myself of the desires, the thoughts, the habits of old. May I put them to death. Help me kill them. I don’t want to think and act the way I used to, but rather, to live the life You created me to live, a life of service and love, of goodness and peace, that gives You glory and pleasure. Make me one who gives those on earth a taste of heaven.