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A House Waiting in the Heavens

For we know that if our earthly house, our present ‘tent’, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house no human hands have built: it is everlasting, in the heavenly places. At the present moment, you see, we are groaning, as we long to put on our heavenly building, in the belief that by putting it on we won’t turn out to be naked. Yes: in the present ‘tent’, we groan under a great weight. But we don’t want to put it off; we want to put on something else on top, so that what is doomed to die may be swallowed up with life. It is God who has been at work in us to do this, the God who has given us the spirit as the first instalment and guarantee.

The Judgment Seat of the Messiah

So we are always confident: we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live our lives by faith, you see, not by sight. We are confident, and we would much prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we work hard, as a point of honour, to please him, whether we are at home or away. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Messiah, so that each may receive what has been done through the body, whether good or bad.

The Messiah’s Love Makes Us Press On

11 So we know the fear of the Lord; and that’s why we are persuading people – but we are open to God, and open as well, I hope, to your consciences. 12 We aren’t trying to recommend ourselves again! We are giving you a chance to be proud of us, to have something to say to those who take pride in appearances rather than in people’s hearts.

13 If we are beside ourselves, you see, it’s for God; and if we are in our right mind, it’s for you. 14 For the Messiah’s love makes us press on. We have come to the conviction that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all in order that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised on their behalf.

New Creation, New Ministry

16 From this moment on, therefore, we don’t regard anybody from a merely human point of view. Even if we once regarded the Messiah that way, we don’t do so any longer. 17 Thus, if anyone is in the Messiah, there is a new creation! Old things have gone, and look – everything has become new!

18 It all comes from God. He reconciled us to himself through the Messiah, and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 This is how it came about: God was reconciling the world to himself in the Messiah, not counting their transgressions against them, and entrusting us with the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors, speaking on behalf of the Messiah, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore people on the Messiah’s behalf to be reconciled to God. 21 The Messiah did not know sin, but God made him to be sin on our behalf, so that in him we might embody God’s faithfulness to the covenant.