For we know that if this poor tent, our earthly house, is taken down, we have in Heaven a building which God has provided, a house not built by human hands, but eternal.
For in this one we sigh, because we long to put on over it our dwelling which comes from Heaven--
if indeed having really put on a robe we shall not be found to be unclothed.
Yes, we who are in this tent certainly do sigh under our burdens, for we do not wish to lay aside that with which we are now clothed, but to put on more, so that our mortality may be absorbed in Life.
And He who formed us with this very end in view is God, who has given us His Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that bliss.
We have therefore a cheerful confidence. We know that while we are at home in the body we are banished from the Lord;
for we are living a life of faith, and not one of sight.
So we have a cheerful confidence, and we anticipate with greater delight being banished from the body and going home to the Lord.
And for this reason also we make it our ambition, whether at home or in exile, to please Him perfectly.
For we must all of us appear before Christ's judgement-seat in our true characters, in order that each may then receive an award for his actions in this life, in accordance with what he has done, whether it be good or whether it be worthless.
Therefore, because we realize how greatly the Lord is to be feared, we are endeavouring to win men over, and God recognizes what our motives are, and I hope that you, in your hearts, recognize them too.
We are not again commending ourselves to your favour, but are furnishing you with a ground of boasting on our behalf, so that you may have a reply ready for those with whom superficial appearances are everything and sincerity of heart counts for nothing.
For if we have been beside ourselves, it has been for God's glory; or if we are now in our right senses, it is in order to be of service to you.
For the love of Christ overmasters us, the conclusion at which we have arrived being this--that One having died for all, His death was their death,
and that He died for all in order that the living may no longer live to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again.
Therefore for the future we know no one simply as a man. Even if we have known Christ as a man, yet now we do so no longer.
So that if any one is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old state of things has passed away; a new state of things has come into existence.
And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has appointed us to serve in the ministry of reconciliation.
We are to tell how God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not charging men's transgressions to their account, and that He has entrusted to us the Message of this reconciliation.
On Christ's behalf therefore we come as ambassadors, God, as it were, making entreaty through our lips: we, on Christ's behalf, beseech men to be reconciled to God.
He has made Him who knew nothing of sin to be sin for us, in order that in Him we may become the righteousness of God.