2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
1 For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 And, in fact, we groan in this one, longing to put on our house from heaven, 3 since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we who are in this tent groan, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 And the One who prepared us for this very thing is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.
6 Therefore, though we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight — 8 yet we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
In the early verses it is clear that Paul is looking forward to being with the Lord. Do you notice how he changes the words with painful feelings, i.e. death, the end, to words with great yearning, i.e. “to be present with the Lord”? This life is even expressed with pain, “an absence from the Lord.” He is eagerly looking forward to death and the hereafter. He wants to go to be with God, to take on his eternal dwelling, a house not built with human hands. How does he have such sure hope?
Paul says that since he is still in the body he will continue to live pleasing to the Lord. He knows that one day we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Each Christian will see their life played out before them, all the good and all the bad, and they will be rewarded on the basis of their life as Christians.
What those rewards will be I do not know. Several ideas have been posited through the years, but none has gained great acceptance. It is clear from scripture that some will receive great reward while others will receive none, saved as if by fire. But the value system of heaven and the sure joy that all will have in heaven are two complicating factors in determining rewards. Suffice it to say that are definite benefits beyond this life to living a righteous life here on earth.
Are you ready as Paul was to meet the Lord? Are there some actions you need to take today to begin “pleasing the Lord”? Remember, today is the day to act.