Do I see this life as a building or as a tent? Paul begins by comparing our life here on earth to living in a tent. Our earthly bodies are mere tents - temporary dwellings. They will be torn down - i.e. we are going to die. But there is another dwelling - a building from God, a house made without hands. This is our eternal dwelling place with God for Paul lets us know that it is "eternal in the heavens."
Too often I see this world as substance and the things of the Spirit as shadow - when the fact is that it is just the opposite. We live in a shadow-world and the reality is the spiritual. Paul's assertions here - and God's truth is that we should KNOW that this world is the tent - and heaven is our house, our building, our home.
The problem we have is that all that is around us seems so real. It is real - but it is so amazingly temporary. All this around us will be torn down - and it will vanish. So why live for it? Why focus upon it?
In this house (our current tent) we groan. That is because since salvation we have been changed - born again - made alive in the realm of the Spirit. Since that time - the reality of this world is fading - even as the Holy Spirit teaches us more and more about what is real. Therefore we begin to groan. This world is filled with death, destruction, deception, and devilish ways. We want - even long to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. We want reality and truth - therefore we want God. We know, just as Adam and Eve were filled with the horrific knowledge of their own nakedness after sinning agaisnt God, that we are naked and need to be clothed. (They tried to sew fig leaves to cover their nakedness - and hide it from God. Mankind has been either sewing their own religious covering or hiding from Him ever since.) We know that as we put on Christ, His righteousness and His works, that we will not be found naked. But as long as we live in this world - shadowland - we will continue to groan over our humanity, over our flesh, over our inability to completely shake off all the effects of the Fall. We are burdened with this as long as we inhabit our unglorified bodies.
We groan in a way because we don't want to be unclotherd, but clothed. Here Paul shifts gears and speaks of how our flesh and our human existance fights death. We also are well known throughout all history for fighting God as He unclothes us from our religious outfits. We don our works-mentality and our religious observances thinking that in these we are clothed. We put on the world and its garish outfits of selfishness, self-centeredness, self-achievement, and self-glorifying. We embrace the fashion trends of the here and now - embracing the flesh-lusts, eye-lusts, and the pride of this life and our tent-ways. God wants to unclothe us from all these things - even allowing us, giving us over to them - so that in their self-destrutive ways we would groan. Suffering and pain make us groan - resisting His hand and His sanctifying purpose makes us groan - rebelling against His purposes and plans makes us groan. He will win these battles, even allowing periods of devastation in our lives - because we MUST be unclothed from such things so that what is mortal can be swallowed up by life itself. That life is His Life - abundant and eternal.
To these things God has been committed since the day of our salvation. At that moment He did something miraculous. He gave us His Spirit, putting Him deep within us - at the very core of our being. We were changed and altered (althought not so much to the seeng eye). The Spirit was His earnest money - His downpayment that guaranteed that He Who had done this work of salvation in us, would complete it until the day of our ultimate redemption. This is not earnest money that will be left on the table - after the transaction is abandoned. This is God's way of saying that He is committed to this process - and He will have us - all of us. It is also His way of saying that we will be unclothed from the rags and tatters of this world and its ways - and clothed with . . . well, with Him. This is more of a certainty than the next tick of the clock, your next breath, or the rising of the sun in the morning. These actually will all stop one day - but His pursuit of us clothed in Him alone will never end - nor will it ever be abandoned.
So today continues - tick after tick of the clock will go on - just like it did yesterday. You will continue to groan in this world - groan in your interesting ensemble of this world and the world to come. You will groan as more of your life and ways are unclothed with truth - conviction - repentance. Some times it will be painful - so painful and so difficult you wonder if you can take your next step. Other times will be delightful as you watch your humanity swallowed up by life - astounded as you see Christ, His character and ways more clearly in your attitudes and actions.
Groan, dear ones, groan under the burden of this world. Groan as you learn of a wardrobe so simple yet majestic. Groan as you embrace life itself. Such groans are a symphony of sanctificatioin in His ears. It is music both painful and pleasant to hear. It has played ever since the first couple were unclothed from such silliness as fig leaves - and were given physical garments paid for by a blood sacrifice. But in another realm preparations had been made since all eternity for a like re-clothing of all the redeemed. Preparations for man to be unclothed from all his sin - and dressed in the glorious, blood-bought righteousness of Christ. So groan my dear brothers and sisters - groan as you are changed out of your fallen humanity and redressed in Life that swallows you so that your nakendness is covered by His glory. And may even our groans rise in a cresendo of praise and glory and honor to our kind and gracious Clothier.