MARCH 30

The Hope of Heaven

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

2 Corinthians 5:1-2, “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.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.” 

This verse looks back to that which proceeds and the encouraging word that our present day trials are “preparing us for an eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Looking not at the things that are seen, we do not lose heart knowing that “he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” and bring us into his presence (2 Corinthians 4:14).  A distinction is made, in these two verses, between our present dwelling (our earthly home) and that which awaits us in heaven.  We now reside in a tent, but we long for our heavenly abode. 

Our family used to tent camp at a State Park at the mouth of the Deschutes River.  It is oftentimes very windy in the Columbia River gorge where the park is located.  Sometimes it seemed as if the winds would lift our tent right off the ground and blow it away.  When camping there on one occasion, a sudden thunderstorm brought terribly strong winds and heavy rains!  Most of the tent campers hurriedly picked up their tents and gear and hastily departed.  Tents are temporary dwelling places, subject to deterioration and limited in their ability to provide a comfortable shelter.

The Maryhill Museum of Art lies across the river from the Deschutes River State Park.  We once left behind our tents to visit the place.  The  building was designed over 100 years ago by a famous architectural firm and built by Sam Hill to be his residence.  It is constructed of steel I-beams with interior steel studs.  The walls, floors, and ceilings are constructed of poured concrete reinforced with steel.  Sam Hill built it to last “1000 years.”  For over a century it has  weathered the strong winds and storms that sometimes visit the Columbia River gorge. But as impressive as the Maryhill building is, it is subject to the same decaying forces that permeate all of this curse-afflicted creation (Romans 8:21; 2 Peter 1:4).  It too will be destroyed one day (2 Peter 3:10-11). 

Our earthly bodies are compared to tents.  They are temporary dwelling places.  They are frail, subject to decay, and not fit for heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50).  They are “perishable,” “sown in dishonor” and “weakness,” “natural” not spiritual, “from earth,” and “of dust” (1 Corinthians 15:42-49).  No “age-defying” machination of man can work to prevent their decay.  Only through God’s intervention, in receiving the One who died for sins and rose from the dead, can any of us experience triumph over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 1:16; John 1:12).   

Paul was writing to believers in Christ and his message was one of hope and assurance.  God has prepared a home for us in heaven.  In contrast to the temporary dwelling places in which we now live, our heavenly home is “eternal.”  It will last far longer than 1000 years.  It is not subject to rot, or rust, or robbers (Matthew 6:19-20).  As any homeowner knows that it takes a lot of work to keep up a house, but not so our heavenly abode.  No earthly home is without flaws, but our heavenly home will be “imperishable, undefiled and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4).  A famous architect designed the Maryhill home, but it is God Himself who has designed and constructed our eternal one (Hebrews 11:10, 16).  

Moving is a difficult and tiresome thing, but the distress is lessened if the move is to a more desirable place.  Every believer in Christ will one day make a last final move to a heavenly abode.  Jesus’ presence there makes that place most desirable (Philippians 1:23; 3:20).   Our present hope is focused on our future home.

Our Present Hope is Focused on our Future Home

Heavenly Father. We are daily reminded of the frailty of our earthly tents. Thank You for saving us and assuring to us a future home in heaven, an eternal home You’ve prepared for us. For now we groan in our earthly dwellings, but one day we will glory in Your very presence. May the Spirit work within us that our hearts might be filled with anticipation of what You’ve prepared for us! As we eagerly anticipate that time, may we walk by faith and not by sight. And may we make it our aim to please You in all things. Amen.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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