Verses 6 and 8 discuss a Christian’s correct attitudes towards life and death. Such matters become especially important when that person’s life is in great danger. That was Paul’s recent experience, and these thoughts are perhaps the direct result of that experience.
A person is, of course, ‘in the body’ during their life in this world. It is only natural that we do not wish to leave either our bodies, or this world. We belong here, as a person belongs at home. Even if we do not feel content here, we desire to be content here.
However, we all know that we cannot remain permanently here. If our body is like a home, it is more like a tent than a permanent building (verse 1). Death will separate us both from our bodies and from this world.
However, as Christians we can have courage, even when we are in danger of death. We only belong in this world for a short time, but we belong with Christ always. We may feel at home in this world, but our real home is with him. Of course we do not want death to separate our spirits from our bodies. However, we would much prefer our spirits to be with Christ; that is clearly much better than anything in this world*.
Paul’s great courage during those terrible troubles impresses us very much. However, we need to remember where Paul got that great courage from. He confesses that he himself felt fear* and weakness*. It was God who helped Paul in his troubles*. It was God who gave Paul strength in his weak state*. Paul’s courage came from God; and therefore that same courage is available to every Christian.
Next part: ‘We walk by faith, not by sight’ (5:7)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.