Our second reading today from 2nd Corinthians is talking about a growing relationship, a paradox between our growing relationship with Christ and our body which will someday soon, in context with eternity, pass away. Maybe that’s when you reach 110, 70 or even next week. We sometimes never know, right? But our body is decaying.
Folks some of us are getting old. I was telling Naomi about a week ago: “Naomi remember when I said to you when we were young, wouldn’t it be great if we could grow old together. Well guess what. It’s happening. We have arrived”. We are getting older. Some of our body parts are just not pulling their own weight like we want them too. Sometimes I’ll tell Naomi, You know I don’t think it is because I am getting older, but I think it is something that is wrong with me. And she will remind me: “No it is because you are getting older. That is what is wrong with you”.
Our bodies start to slow down and Paul says they are starting to malfunction. And then he compares that with what is going on with our life with Christ. He says this: Even though our outer body is wasting away, our inner body is continually being renewed and growing in our relationship with God”. We are renewed day by day.
Our passage continues with these words: For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen, for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
One of things that Paul always emphasizes, and it is a tenet of his faith, is active experienced faith. It’s a value goal in every sermon, talk and writing that we read about. It is mandatory and important that he entrusts this message deep within our hearts. Being a Christian is not intended to be a static thing. Being a Christian is a fluid thing.
Salvation is a verb, not a noun. It is a continual process and the message is that within us, within our inner person, we are designed to be changed from the inside out. The outside is decaying and going away, but the inner person is intended to be renewed day by day.
Paul finishes this passage with these words: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house make with hands, eternal in the heavens. We are being prepared for an eternal world of glory, beyond all measure…in other words, this passage should give you pause and a sense of awe that is beyond all comprehension: Similar to the blessing I give at the end of each service. “May the peace of God that is beyond all comprehension guard your hearts and minds in the knowledge of God and of his son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.
We are intended to grow in our relationship with God, and all the time our human tent is wasting away. It’s a paradox. We are growing in our relationship with God, but we are slowly aging and preparing for the great exit from this earthly tent. In a way it is mystical, but in another way it’s not all that mystical. That is the way it is folks. Our spiritual drive is to know Christ and to be known by Christ.
I know that I preach about the journey right now as a wonderful thing, day by day. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.My journey does have a destination, and I truly believe that is the natural order of things. The older I get, and my life on this earth is coming closer to the end. We are called over and over to enjoy the journey, but we also long for the destination, the city of God, whose architect and builder is God.