|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-8 The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but he has good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father's house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are mouldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord!
Verse 2. - In this we groan. Since we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, who assures us of that future building from God, we, in this earthly tent, "groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23). To be clothed upon; rather, to further clothe ourselves with. Here the metaphors of a tent and a garment - the "wandering tent" and the "mortal vesture of decay" - are interfused in a manner on which only the greatest writers can venture The corruptible yearns to clothe itself with the incorruptible, the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53). The glorified body is compared to an over garment, House; rather, habitation (oiketerion).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For in this we groan earnestly,.... Meaning either for this happiness we groan, or rather in this tabernacle we groan. These words are a reason of the former, proving that the saints have a building of God; and they know they have it, because they groan after it here; for the groanings of the saints are under the influence and direction of the Spirit of God, who makes intercession for them, as for grace, so for glory, according to the will of God: and this groaning is further explained by
desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; by which is meant not the glorified body in the resurrection morn; for though the bodies of the saints will be glorious, incorruptible, powerful, and spiritual, they are not said to be celestial, nor will they be from heaven, but be raised out of the earth: besides, the apostle is speaking of an habitation the soul will go into, and is desirous of going into as soon as it removes out of the earthly house of the body, and of a clothing it desires to be clothed with as soon as it is stripped of the garment of the flesh: wherefore, by the house from heaven must be meant the heavenly glory, which departed souls immediately enter into, and are arrayed with, even the white and shining robes of purity, perfection, and glory they shall be clothed with, as soon as ever their tabernacles are unpinned and dissolved. The Jews indeed speak of a celestial body which the soul shall be clothed with immediately upon its separation from the earthly body, and much in such figurative terms as the apostle does in this, and the following verse;
"when a man's time is come, say they (d), to go out of this world, he does not depart until the angel of death has stripped him of the clothing of body, (see 2 Corinthians 5:4) and when the soul is stripped of the body, by the angel of death, it goes , "and is clothed with that other body", which is in paradise, of which it was stripped when it came into this world; for the soul has no pleasure but in the body, which is from thence, and it rejoices because it is stripped of the body of this world, "and is clothed with another perfect clothing".''
And a little after,
"the holy blessed God deals well with men, for he does not strip men of their clothes until he has provided for them other clothes, more precious and better than these, except the wicked of the world, who return not to their Lord by perfect repentance; for naked they came into this world, and naked (see 2 Corinthians 5:3) they shall return hence.''
And in another place (e),
"the soul does not go up to appear before the Holy King, until it is worthy to be clothed , "with the clothing which is above".''
(d) Zohar in Exod. fol. 62. 1, 2.((e) Zohar in Exod. fol. 92. 2. Vid. fol. 84. 3. & in Gen. fol. 49. 3. & Caphtor, fol. 18. 2. & 78. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. For in this—Greek, "For also in this"; "herein" (2Co 8:10). Alford takes it, "in this" tabernacle. 2Co 5:4, which seems parallel, favors this. But the parallelism is sufficiently exact by making "in this we groan" refer generally to what was just said (2Co 5:1), namely, that we cannot obtain our "house in the heavens" except our "earthly tabernacle" be first dissolved by death.
we groan—(Ro 8:23) under the body's weaknesses now and liability to death.
earnestly desiring to be clothed upon—translate, "earnestly longing to have ourselves clothed upon," &c., namely, by being found alive at Christ's coming, and so to escape dissolution by death (2Co 5:1, 4), and to have our heavenly body put on over the earthly. The groans of the saints prove the existence of the longing desire for the heavenly glory, a desire which cannot be planted by God within us in vain, as doomed to disappointment.
our house—different Greek from that in 2Co 5:1; translate, "our habitation," "our domicile"; it has a more distinct reference to the inhabitant than the general term "house" (2Co 5:1) [Bengel].
from heaven—This domicile is "from heaven" in its origin, and is to be brought to us by the Lord at His coming again "from heaven" (1Th 4:16). Therefore this "habitation" or "domicile" is not heaven itself.
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