‘We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.’ — 2 Corinthians 5:8
The longer we live the more familiar with death we become. We learn that death is real and that, unless the Lord returns, all of us will one day die. The fact that death is certain should motivate us to be prepared for it.
So, how do we get prepared for death and how can we be confident in the face of death. Paul the Apostle shares why he was ready to die in 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10.
First, Paul understood that earthly life is temporary (4:16-18). The bodies we have on this earth are slowly perishing and the things we see in this world are temporal. So, the first way we get ready is by realising how fleeting this life is. We stop focusing on the outward man and cultivate the inward man, the part of us that will live forever. We also begin looking at how we can invest in eternity even if it brings affliction in this life.
Second, Paul knew that the death of this mortal body opens the door for us to receive a new immortal body (5:1-4). The resurrection of our bodies is guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, we can know that we will receive a glorified body. As a result, the pain and problems of this life make us sigh deeply (‘groan’) as we look forward to our new bodies. For the believer in Christ, death is something that can be actually looked forward to because that is when mortality is swallowed up in life.
Third, Paul’s confidence came from the gift of the Holy Spirit (5:5-8). In v.5, the Holy Spirit is called ‘the earnest’ which means the deposit or the down payment that guarantees the full payment. The reason believers in Christ can be absolutely confident they will receive new bodies and be in God’s eternal presence forever is because God has already made the down payment of our inheritance. We already have the Spirit as proof. This gives us confidence and excitement about life beyond the grave.
Fourth, the more work we do for the Lord, the more we are excited about how He will reward us (5:9-10). The thought of standing before God motivates us to want to labour for Him, to please Him with our works, and to be rewarded by Him. For Paul, that moment of standing before God was both exciting and terrifying (v.11 ‘the terror of the Lord’). As a result, he sought to do all in his power to persuade men to believe on Christ.
Questions to Consider:
- Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save you?
- Is your focus on the temporal things of this life or the eternal things of the next?
- Are you confident and excited about gaining an immortal body and being with the Lord forever?
- Are you labouring now for the Lord and seeking to persuade men so that when you stand before Christ you will be rewarded of Him?