|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 8. - To be absent, etc.; literally, to be away from the home of the body, but to be at home with the Lord. To be present with the Lord. The hope expressed is exactly the same as in Philippians 1:23, except that here (as in ver. 4) he expresses a desire not "to depart," but to be quit of the body without the necessity for death.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
We are confident, I say, and willing rather,.... We are cheerful in our present state, being assured of future happiness; though we choose rather
to be absent from the body; that is, to die, to depart out of this world. The interval between death, and the resurrection, is a state of absence from the body, during which time the soul is disembodied, and exists in a separate state; not in a state of inactivity and sleep, for that would not be desirable, but of happiness and glory, enjoying the presence of God, and praising of him, believing and waiting for the resurrection of the body, when both will be united together again; and after that there will be no more absence, neither from the body, nor from the Lord:
and to be present with the Lord. This was promised to Christ in the everlasting covenant, that all his spiritual seed and offspring should be with him. This he expected; it was the joy of this which was set before him, that carried him through his sufferings and death with so much cheerfulness; this is the sum of his prayers and intercession, and what all his preparations in heaven are on the account of. It is this which supports and comforts the saints under all their sorrows here, and which makes them meet death with pleasure, which otherwise is formidable and disagreeable to nature; and even desirous of parting with life, to be with Christ, which is far better.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. willing—literally, "well content." Translate also, "To go (literally, migrate) from our home in the body, and to come to our home with the Lord." We should prefer to be found alive at the Lord's coming, and to be clothed upon with our heavenly body (2Co 5:2-4). But feeling, as we do, the sojourn in the body to be a separation from our true home "with the Lord," we prefer even dissolution by death, so that in the intermediate disembodied state we may go to be "with the Lord" (Php 1:23). "To be with Christ" (the disembodied state) is distinguished from Christ's coming to take us to be with Him in soul and body (1Th 4:14-17, "with the Lord"). Perhaps the disembodied spirits of believers have fulness of communion with Christ unseen; but not the mutual recognition of one another, until clothed with their visible bodies at the resurrection (compare 1Th 4:13-17), when they shall with joy recognize Christ's image in each other perfect.
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