The second reason we should carry the Gospel forward lies in our concern for the well-being of other people. Where the Gospel goes, blessing comes to people’s lives. It is out of that that hospitals have been built, schools have been established, and so on. The suffering of the world is a concern that motivates us, but of all the concerns and reasons we have for going to others with the Gospel, the chief among them is what Paul gives in this portion of 2 Corinthians. It is the love of Christ that compels us.

In addition to tents, Paul uses a second image to refer to our earthly bodies, that of clothing. That is an image that we can all understand. Paul says that although our bodies are great things, they are, nevertheless, weakened by sin so that they are mortal. Our bodies are subject to disease. They die. They are like clothing that has fallen into rags. He wrote, "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor. 5:2-4).

In the opening section of 2 Corinthians 5, Paul wrote about the dissolution of his body, in other words, of his death. He explained that death comes sooner or later to everybody. In his case, he said, death would perhaps come sooner because of the kind of hardships he had endured. Our bodies are at best ragged tents, tents that are going to be folded up and put away one day. But the glory of the Christian hope is to know that when that tent is put away, we have an eternal dwelling made with God in heaven.

Basing our knowledge on Scripture often leads to criticism. Some people say, "That really is something you can't support because, after all, why should you regard the Bible in particular as God's revelation? Certainly, there are other revelations or at least there are other books that claim to reveal God." We can answer those criticisms by saying, "We believe that the Bible is the Word of God because the Lord Jesus Christ taught that the Bible is the Word of God; we can trust what he says about the Bible."

This week we will be studying a long passage containing two separate sections. In the first verse of each of those sections, we find the words, we know.
2 Corinthians 5:1 says, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God...." Then in verse 11 we read, "Since then we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men." That introduces us to a theme that ties these two sections together, the theme of Christian knowledge.