Second Corinthians 5:1-8
‘We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a…house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens…. We groan…, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven…; so that mortality might be swallowed up by life!… Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…. We are confident…, willing rather to be absent from the body and…present with the Lord!’ Second Corinthians 5:1-8.
Calvin comments: “Paul…goes on to the supreme and perfect blessedness that awaits believers after death in Heaven…. Believers depart willingly, because they have a better hope held out to them beyond this world…. Even the heathen had some notion of the immorality of the soul, but…only believers can speak if it with assurance…. The only thing that can bring me to face death with cheerfulness, is the sure conviction that I am departing to a better life….
“The body…he calls ‘the house of our tabernacle’…. The blessed state of the soul after death, is the beginning of this building — but its completion is the glory of the final resurrection…. The future life to believers…is something that belongs only to them…. Believers who are clothed with Christ and adorned with His righteousness, receive the glorious robe of immortality…. The Apostle is here describing how God clothes us twice — first with the righteousness of Christ…in this life, and then — after death, with immortality and glory….
“The groaning of believers arises from their knowledge that here they are exiles from their…land, and are shut up in the body…. They cannot escape the slavery of sin, except by death — and so they wish to be elsewhere…. Believers desire death not in order to lose anything, but for the sake of a better life…. ‘What is mortal, may be swallowed up by life!’…
“‘We walk by faith’…. We are absent from the Lord…. We do not yet see Him…. Believers…have to hope…. We do indeed, see — but in a glass, darkly…. ‘We are of good courage, (willing rather to be absent from the body and…present with the Lord)!’…
“The greatest of evils is death, and yet believers long for it — because it is the beginning of perfect blessedness…. There is nothing better than to leave the body, so that we may share God’s dwelling-place…. Believers…willingly battle on at their earthly post for as long as the Lord thinks fit…. Souls loosened from their bodies, live with God…. When they are absent from the body — they have God present with them…. The holy fathers of the Old (Testament) Church did not…tremble before the messenger of death, but embraced it gladly and with joyful hearts!”
Calvin also says in his Institutes III:9:5 & 25:6: “Paul admirably enjoins believers to hasten cheerfully to death — not because they ‘would be unclothed, but clothed upon…. If our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building from God!’ (Second Corinthians 5:1-6).”
Calvin further says in his Psychopannychia: “‘We who are in this tabernacle…, wish to be…clothed upon — so that mortality may be swallowed up by life’…. We…would rather be absent from the body, and present with the Lord! (Second Corinthians 5:1-8).” Hallelujah!