For the Love of God, Volume 2/March 6
From Gospel Translations
Exodus 17; Luke 20; Job 35; 2 Corinthians 5
THINGS ARE NEVER QUITE AS GOOD as they might be. Or if for a brief moment they are as good as you can imagine them, if for a while you seem to suck in the nectar of life itself with every breath you breathe, you know as well as I do that such highs cannot last. Tomorrow you go back to work. You may enjoy your job, but it has its pressures. Your marriage may be well-nigh idyllic, but in a sour mood you may marvel at how much you cannot or will not share with your spouse. The warm west wind that tousles your hair metamorphoses into a tornado that destroys your home. One of your parents succumbs to Alzheimer’s; one of your children dies. There is so much around you to enjoy, yet just as you begin to chew on a filet mignon that your children have bought for you for your birthday, you remember the millions who starve every day. There is no escape from the brute reality that, however wonderful your experiences in this broken world, others suffer experiences far more corrosive, and you yourself cannot ever believe that what you are experiencing is utterly ideal.
That restlessness is for our good. It is a design feature of our makeup, of our nature as creatures made in the image of God. We were made to inhabit eternity; by constitution we know that we belong to something better than a world (however beautiful at times) awash in sin.
Paul understands this point perfectly (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). He anticipates the time when “the earthly tent” (our present body) will be destroyed, and we will receive “an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (5:1)—our resurrection body. “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (5:2). It is not that we wish to “shuffle off our mortal coil” and exist in naked immortality: that is not our ultimate hope, for “we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (5:4).
Then Paul adds: “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (5:5). God made us for this purpose, i.e., for the purpose of resurrection life, secured for us by the death of his Son. Moreover, in anticipation of this glorious consummation of life, already God has given us his Spirit as a deposit, a kind of down payment on the ultimate inheritance.
Small wonder, then, that we groan in anticipation and find our souls restless in this temporary abode that is under sentence of death.