Posted by: Alicia | November 24, 2009

To Be Absent From the Body …

I don’t know how many times I’ve had people use the following scripture to prove that there are no ghosts, that once we die, we go directly to God:

2 Corinthians 5:8b ” … absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord”.

The first problem I have with the way this scripture is used, is that it is taken out of context, and the second problem is that it is taken out of context. As I have said over and over and over again in my blog, we should always read scripture within context. In other words, read the entire chapter, and if necessary, the proceeding chapters, and those that follow. For as in so many other arguments made by those who do not truly study the scriptures, the only way one can justify this argument is to chop the verse in half, doing away with the first part of the verse (which if included already starts to dismantle this flimsy argument):

2 Corinthians 5:8a “we are of good courage, I say, and PREFER rather TO BE ….”

As you can see, if we include the first part of verse 8, we already see that the writer, Paul, is talking about his PREFERENCE, not what actually happens. Now let’s go further and read the verses leading up to and including verse 8:

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked.

4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and know that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight – 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”

In other words, Paul is saying that while we are still in the flesh, in our “meat suits” per se, we will continue to struggle on a daily basis with life’s temptations. And because of this we long for the time when we no longer have to struggle with these temptations, but will instead be freed from them. Paul goes on to remind us that God understands this, and as a promise gave us the Holy Spirit to not only guide and help us through these struggles, but also to be a “sign” that we are saved. So we are to walk by faith, not by sight, and be of good courage. He also goes on in the rest of Chapter 5 to tell us that we “should no longer live for (ourselves), but for Him who died and rose again on (our) behalf”. With this in mind, we don’t have to long for death and passing into the spirit, but instead we can live our lives for Christ now. For because of Jesus’ death we no longer need be controlled by our worldly flesh, but instead by accepting and following the teachings of Christ, we can live knowing that we are reconciled to God, forgiven, and start living a life that pleases and glorifies God.

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