2 Corinthians 5:3

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Monday, 3 August 2015

…if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 2 Corinthians 5:3

There are several things to consider here. Paul has been speaking of our “earthly house” which he calls a “tent.” There is a time, except for those who are alive at the rapture, when we will die and that body will go into corruption. At that time, the soul will be “naked.” In other words, it will still exist, but it will be without a body. This verse then implies that we were intended to be a soul/body unity. This is the doctrine of anthropological hylomorphism – man is a soul/body unity.

In Genesis 2:7, God created man out of the dust and breathed into him the breath of life. He is therefore matter (dust) and soul (the animated breath) combined. In the Bible, the soul can mean a person without a body. For example in Acts 2 we see this –

“Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.” Acts 2:30, 31

But the soul can also be speaking of a dead body, such as in Leviticus 22:4. If there was no soul/body unity, then the killing of a body (murder) wouldn’t be wrong, but it is because when a man is murdered he is deprived of his physical being which is tied to his soul. And finally, the concept of a “resurrection” would be illogical if we were complete without a body. Instead, we would be “naked” as Paul’s words imply here. This is why Paul so carefully describes our resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.

Again, in Job 10, Job speaks of his soul as a body that is animated and he describes the various things which that imply. There and elsewhere in the Bible, we see that grief of the soul affects the body and that pains of the body distress the soul.

Also, as a precedent in the Bible for an interim spiritual state without a real body, you can go to 1 Samuel 28 and see that even though Samuel had an appearance and that he could speak and hear, he is clearly identified as a “spirit” in verse 28:13. In other words, he was a soul without a body despite having abilities such as hearing and speaking.

All these tie in with what Paul has been speaking about and what he will continue to describe. We have a body now which is temporary and there will be a time when that is set aside because of death. However, our soul will live on. At some point, that unnatural state will be corrected when we will have “been clothed.” This is the new, glorified body that God has prepared for those who have received Jesus. At this time, “we shall not be found naked.” In fact, in 1 John 3, we are told that we shall be like Christ Jesus –

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2

Life application: Taken as a whole, the lesson of the Bible is that what we are now is temporary and that it will go into corruption at our death, but our soul will live on in an unintended state. However, God will give us an eternal body at some point. It will never wear out and it will be glorious. Don’t let the pains of this life wear you out to hopelessness, and don’t let the thought of death consume you with fear. Instead, know that God has everything under control and what He has planned for us will be glorious.

Lord God, I just love the promises of the Bible that tell me there is a better life yet ahead. You have told us that some day we will be like Jesus in His resurrection. With this great hope in my heart, even the temporary pains of this life cannot ruin my joy. And the thought of death brings no panic to me at all. No fear here… I have an eternal hope which is rooted in the promises of Your word. Praise Jesus who went before us and has prepared the way for His faithful! Amen.

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