A very good morning to you my precious family and friends

2 Corinthians 5:5 says, “Now the One who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

In 2 Corinthians, Paul paints a picture of the glorious home that is waiting for all believers, our heavenly dwelling. Fourteen years before Paul wrote this letter, he “was caught up” with Christ into Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). And he gives the Corinthians a glimpse of what he experienced in the midst of the present reality in verses 1-4).

Paul acknowledges the suffering, groaning, and brokenness that exists in our world (verses 2 & 4 in Ch. 5). He does not deny it, overlook it, or explain it away. Rather he embraces the fallenness of humanity and recognizes that God has something much better in store for us (vs 1).

So much of Paul's ministry to the Church is reminding us of our eternal inheritance and our heavenly citizenship and although we have no tangible evidence of our future hope, nevertheless we accept it by faith - because God has spoken in His Word and God is faithful to His word.

God is preparing us right now for our eternal destiny. Paul connects the ideas of our light affliction and the eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Our light affliction is (in part) how God has prepared us.

A man in the middle of many painful trials took a walk in his neighbourhood and saw a construction crew at work on a big church. He stood and watched a stone craftsman work a long time on a block but could not see where the block would fit, because the church appeared to be finished. He watched the man work on the block carefully and methodically, slowly shaping it into a precise pattern. Finally, he asked, “Why are you spending so much time chipping and shaping that block?” The craftsman pointed up to the top of the nearly completed steeple and said, “I’m shaping it down here so it will fit in up there.” The man in the middle of the trials instantly knew that was God’s message to him: He was being prepared down here so that he would fit in up in heaven.

When the trials are hard on earth, it isn’t always easy to take comfort in our heavenly destiny. God knew this, so He gave us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee. He backs up the promise of heaven with a down payment right now, the Holy Spirit.

Guarantee is the ancient Greek word arrhabon, which described a pledge or a partial payment that required future payments but gave the one receiving the guarantee a legal claim to the goods in question.

When we consider how glorious the down payment is, we should consider how great the whole gift will be.

As a guarantee from God - all who truly trust in Christ Jesus as Saviour receive the indwelling Holy Spirit as a pledge - He is a guarantee from God that we will one day set aside this earthly body and be dressed in the heavenly glory that comes from God.

Right now, the presence of God is a matter of faith. We are at home in our earthly body so there is a sense in which we are absent from the Lord, at least in the sense of His immediate, glorious presence. So now, we must walk by faith, not by sight.

To walk by faith, not by sight is one of the great – and difficult – principles of Christian living. It must amaze the angels that we live for, serve, and are willing to die for a God we have never seen. Yet we love Him and live for Him, living by faith, not by sight.

The day will come when we will no longer be absent from the Lord. Then we will not have to walk by faith, but we will see the glory and the presence of God by sight.

God’s people are not perfect yet. The same Spirit, who raised Christ from death, lives in us. So, as Christ was raised to life, all God’s people will rise to new life.

God is not just working in the lives of His people; He is achieving His purpose. Through all the troubles of their lives, He is bringing us into a perfect and wonderful relationship with Himself.

2020 stretched and challenged us. It taught us a lot about ourselves, others, and God. It also displayed, perhaps more clearly than ever, the depravity of our world and the utter need for the ultimate Healer, Rescuer, and Peacemaker: our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not guaranteed that 2021 will be easier, but we can rest assured that “the One who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. What awaits is something brand new and He will be with us all the way home.

Let us pray.

Thank You Lord that You are preparing me for my heavenly home and thank You Father that You gave the Holy Spirit as a pledge, guaranteeing my future hope in Christ - all praise to Your holy name, AMEN

Much love in Christ from Maurice and Margaret