|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 6. - Therefore we are always confident; literally, being of good courage. The sentence in the Greek is unfinished (an anacoluthon), but is resumed after the parenthesis by the repetition, "we are of good courage." Always (2 Corinthians 4:8). We are at home in the body. The tent is pitched in the desert, and even the pillar of fire can only shine through its folds. Yet the tent may become brighter and brighter as life goes on.
"To me the thought of death is terrible,
Having such hold on life. To you it is not
More than a step into the open air
Out of a tent already luminous
With light which shines through its transparent folds."
(Longfellow.) Absent from the Lord (John 14:2, 3). Christ is indeed with us here and always; but the nearness of presence and the clearness of vision in that future life will be so much closer and brighter, that here, by comparison, we are absent from him altogether.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore we are always confident,.... Because God has formed us for immortality and glory, and given us his Spirit as the earnest of it, we take heart, are of good courage, do not sink under our burdens, or despair of happiness, but are fully assured of enjoying what we are desirous of:
knowing that whilst we are at home in the body; or whilst we are inmates or sojourners in the body; for the body is not properly the saints' home; whilst they are in it, they are but pilgrims and strangers; the time of their abode in it is the time of their sojourning: during which time they
are absent from the Lord; not with respect to his general presence, which is everywhere, and attends all creatures, an absence from which is impossible; nor with respect to his spiritual presence, which though not always sensibly enjoyed, yet frequently; nor are the children of God ever deprived of it totally and finally; but with respect to his glorious presence, and the full enjoyment of that. Now the knowledge and consideration of this, that the present state and situation of the saints, whilst in the body, is a state of pilgrimage, and so of absence from the Lord Christ, and from their Father's house, serves to increase their confidence and assurance, that they shall not long continue so, but in a little time shall be at home, and for ever with the Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Translate as Greek, "Being therefore always confident and knowing," &c. He had intended to have made the verb to this nominative, "we are willing" (rather, "well content"), but digressing on the word "confident" (2Co 5:6, 7), he resumes the word in a different form, namely, as an assertion: "We are confident and well content." "Being confident … we are confident" may be the Hebraic idiom of emphasis; as Ac 7:34, Greek, "Having seen, I have seen," that is, I have surely seen.
always—under all trials. Bengel makes the contrast between "always confident" and "confident" especially at the prospect of being "absent from the body." We are confident as well at all times, as also most of all in the hope of a blessed departure.
whilst … at home … absent—Translate as Greek, "While we sojourn in our home in the body, we are away from our home in the Lord." The image from a "house" is retained (compare Php 3:20; Heb 11:13-16; 13:14).
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