What does 2 Corinthians 5:5 mean?
ESV: He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
NIV: 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.
NASB: Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a pledge.
CSB: Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.
NLT: God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
KJV: Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has expressed his own desire to leave behind the tent of his dying, sin-saturated body and to occupy an eternal body that will exist forever. He is confident that this will bring an end to the burden of life on this side of eternity and the "groaning," the longing to be with God, that comes with it. In truth, this is the desire rooted in every believer in Jesus Christ. Why? Because that eternal life is what we are destined for.

Paul says here that God has been preparing Christians for this transformation all along. It is the joyful fate of every believer. It is among the reasons many come to faith in Christ in the first place: to experience the painless, deathless, fearless glory of eternity as He meant for us to experience it since the very beginning.

How do we know it's really coming? Paul writes that God's Holy Spirit within us is His promise that we will reach that day. He has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Every person who trusts in Jesus for salvation receives an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit seals us for that day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). This is the second time that 2 Corinthians has described the Spirit's place in a Christian's life in this way (2 Corinthians 1:22). It is one of the reasons Christians can be confident that our eternal destiny with God is secure, no matter the circumstances of our lives on this side of heaven.
Verse Context:
Second Corinthians 5:1–10 continues Paul's teaching from the previous chapter. The glory of eternity with Christ is far weightier than any suffering experienced in our temporary bodies in this life. Paul longs to occupy his eternal body, described as a permanent house built by God Himself. Knowing that is coming, Paul has the courage to risk even more suffering in order to continue the mission to preach the gospel. His one goal in this life is to please Christ. He knows that every Christian will face judgment by Christ, not to decide one's eternal destiny, but to receive what is due for our works while living in these temporary bodies.
Chapter Summary:
Why does Paul endure so much suffering for preaching about Christ? He continues here his discussion of eternity, comparing our earthly bodies to living in a tent. Paul would rather live in the eternal body God has prepared for those who trust in Christ, free from the groaning and burden that afflicts everyone here. With that to look forward to, he preaches with courage that all in Christ are new creations. In Christ, God is reconciling people to Himself, not counting their sin against them. Paul implores everyone to be reconciled to God in this way through faith in Christ.
Chapter Context:
Second Corinthians 5 follows Paul's confident declarations in the previous chapter. His suffering, though severe, is only a light, momentary affliction preparing him for eternal glory beyond all comparison. He would rather occupy his eternal body, which gives him the courage to continue his mission to preach the gospel that God is reconciling people to Himself, forgiving their sin, through faith in Christ. Those in Christ become a new creation. He concludes by imploring all to be reconciled to God, which he continues to do in the following chapter.
Book Summary:
Second Corinthians returns to similar themes as those Paul mentioned in his first letter to this church. Paul is glad to hear that the church in Corinth has heeded his advice. At the same time, it is necessary for Paul to counter criticisms about his personality and legitimacy. Most of this text involves that subject. The fifth chapter, in contrast, contains comforting words which Christians have quoted often in times of hardship. Paul also details his expectations that the church in Corinth will make good on their promise to contribute to the needs of suffering believers in Jerusalem.
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