This passage has really resonated with me over the past few days. I've really not been feeling "at home in the body" while dealing with intense pain, one scary fainting spell, some anxiety, the urge to do some late-night eating, etc. While I could take this Scripture as a validation for wallowing in the shortcomings of my earthly body, there are a few things stopping me
6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
1. That's only part of the equation. Verse 8 says we'd prefer to be at home with the Lord. Do I have that longing in my heart? Have I been pursuing Him in my everyday life?
2. Verse 9 adds further conviction. Am I making it my goal to please Him? Honestly, in the midst of pain stabbing in my belly, I'm just hoping I don't black out again. How do I glorify God in those moments?
3. This passage is quite probably referring to "the body" as a metaphor for this world. And, as we Christians know, we are supposed to be "in the world, but not of the world." So, how am I doing in that department? Further conviction: I'm gossiping, judging others, being impatient... Ouch.
All this, coupled with the promise of judgment in verse 10, is very depressing. This is the point in which most cases, including other religions, we want to work off these bad things. What can we do to make it right? What can we accomplish to clean the slate? Amazingly, nothing. Further on, Paul writes:
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
What?! God's letting me off scot-free? This is fantastic! But that's not all:
20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So God has done this ridiculously wonderful thing for me, and said, "Mkay, go tell your friends." Nooo problem! No pain or frustration of this world, or this body, can change the fact that I have been redeemed. This lovely song sums up the sense of perspective and joy I feel when I remember this. (Unfortunately it has embedding disabled, so I had to just link to it.)
ADDENDUM: I wrote this post, and was so proud of it. Immediately I realized I'd forgotten a very important element: that of sin-repentance-forgiveness. Well, we'll just say this one deals with overall redemption/Grace. I'll look for appropriate Scripture for the rest later...