This Old Tent

Old Tent

Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4 HCSB)

The bible says that my body is like a tent.  A tent is simply a portable shelter. You pack it, move, unpack it and sleep.  It’s fine for a short while but if you have ever had to sleep on the ground in a tent for more than a couple of nights you can definitely understand why you “groan while we are in this tent”.

Of course you can make your tent better.  You can add things like a cot or air mattress.  Some tents are simply luxurious.

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Who wouldn’t want a tent like this? Of course, such a tent is hardly a “portable shelter.” If you had to pack this thing up you would need a moving truck. Some people want to believe that as Christians we can have a luxurious tent. They teach that we, as sons and daughters of the King, have the authority to command that our tent be perfect.

Every day when you get up in the morning, lay your hand on your head and say these powerful life-giving words:

“In Jesus’ Name, I command all God-given electrical and chemical frequencies of every cell in my body to be in balance and to be in perfect harmony.
I command all bad cells to be digested and eliminated, in the Name of Jesus. I speak a new immune system into my body, in Jesus’ Name.”

A man I know suggested that I pray a prayer like this every day. He said it has kept him in perfect health. This prayer was inspired by Charles and Francis Hunter, the “Happy Hunters” who over the course of 40 years traveled the globe teaching people how to be healed.

Sadly, Charles’ tent failed him in 2010.

Healing evangelist Charles Edward Hunter died in his Houston-area home Monday night after being in frail health for several years. He was 89.

Hunter’s daughter, Joan Hunter Murrell, said her father had essentially been bed-ridden for several months and suffered from a weakened heart.

I don’t mean to be rude but how do we reconcile the positive confession that Charles taught others to say (where you command all bad cells to be eliminated) with the fact that he was in frail health for several years? Did he forget to confess his health?  Did his commands to his own body fail him?

According to the site healingandhealth.org

Jesus said in His Word that believers [those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior and have been empowered by the Holy Spirit] shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:18).

Therefore, believers can lay hands on themselves, commanding sickness to leave in Jesus Name!

Can you show me even one case in the New Testament where anyone, anywhere laid a hand on themselves and healed themselves?  Did the Apostles? No.  Did their close associates (Luke, Mark, Titus, Timothy etc.)? No.  This is not commanded by the Apostles or shown by example anywhere in the New Testament.  Where do they get this from?

This teaching is based on the last portion of the book of Mark.  Most modern translations of the bible clearly indicate that this portion of the text should not be included in the bible.

Although the vast majority of later Greek manuscripts contain Mark 16:9-20, the Gospel of Mark ends at verse 8 in two of the oldest and most respected manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. As the oldest manuscripts are known to be the most accurate because they were copied from the original autographs (i.e., they are copies of the originals), and the oldest manuscripts do not contain vv. 9-20, we can conclude that these verses were added later by scribes.

Read more: Should Mark 16:9-20 be in the Bible?

What does the bible say about this tent?

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 HCSB)

The word translated “is being destroyed” (HCSB) or “decaying” (NASB) is diaphtheirō which according to Strongs means

to rot thoroughly, that is, (by implication) to ruin (passively decay utterly, figuratively pervert): – corrupt, destroy, perish.

At nearly 50 years of age I can see the clear evidence that my outer man is diaphtheirō. The wrinkles around my eyes, the spots on my skin, the receding hairline all tell me that my outer man is decaying right before my eyes.

And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23 HCSB)

As you get older you groan. Sometimes when I get up from my chair I groan. I never used to do that but the pain from Dercums Disease has led to a lot of groaning. As John Piper says “we groan our way to glory.”

For we know that if our temporary, earthly dwelling is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands. (2 Corinthians 5:1 HCSB)

God’s plan has always been to give us a permanent home. Not simply to fix up this tent. Even a luxury tent will one day rot. God is preparing a permanent, eternal home for us. A body that won’t rot, won’t wear out and we will not groan in that body.

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9 HCSB)

Until that day, we will groan but in spite of our groaning we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. We are weak in this tent and growing weaker by the day but we have hope.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience. In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:25-28 HCSB)

One of the symptoms of Dercums Disease is Asthenia (weakness). This is actually the same word from the Greek text. I love what the Bible Knowledge Commentary says here.

These verses point out that believers are not left to their own resources in their sufferings (Rom_8:18) and groaning (Rom_8:23). The Spirit helps (pres. tense, “keeps on helping”) us in (the Gr. here does not have the words rendered “us in”) our weakness. It is not that the Spirit helps in those occasional times when Christians are weak; their state is one of weakness and the Spirit continually helps them. The Greek word for weakness (astheneia) may include physical, emotional, and spiritual disability (cf. comments on Jas_5:14) evidenced by inward “groaning” (Rom_8:23). “Helps” translates synantilambanetai, a rich word that pictures someone helping another carry a heavy load. (It is used elsewhere in the NT only in Luk_10:40.)

The Spirit helps carry this heavy load of sickness that I bear.  Not only that, but unlike the Word of Faith teachers who tell me that my words are so important, the Spirit helps even when I don’t know what to pray.  More from the Bible Knowledge Commentary.

One evidence of their weakness is the fact that believers do not know what they ought to pray (lit., “what we should pray as it is necessary”). In their weakness both the content and the manner of proper prayer eludes them, but the Spirit Himself comes to their rescue and intercedes (pres. tense, “keeps on interceding”) for us with groans that words cannot express. Natural Creation groans (Rom_8:22) and believers groan (Rom_8:23), and so does the Holy Spirit. This has nothing to do with praying in tongues, as some suggest. The groaning is done by the Holy Spirit, not believers, and is not stated in words. The help the Spirit gives (Rom_8:26) is His interceding. “Intercedes” translates hyperentynchanei, which occurs only here in the New Testament; it means “approaches or appeals to someone.” The One who searches our hearts is God (1Sa_16:7; Heb_4:13), and He knows (oiden, “knows perceptively or intuitively”) the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes (entynchanei; cf. Rom_8:26) for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Even though the Spirit’s words are not expressed, the Father knows what the Spirit is thinking. This is an interesting statement about the Father’s omniscience and the intimacy within the Trinity. The Lord Jesus continually intercedes for believers in God’s presence (Rom_8:34; Heb_7:25) and the Holy Spirit also intercedes on their behalf! Though believers are ignorant of what to pray for and how to voice those requests, the Spirit voices their requests for them.

The Spirit intercedes for me.  Jesus intercedes for me.  God is on my side in this.  When I’m groaning in pain.  When I don’t know what to pray.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASB)

Does this mean that God had a purpose in making me sick?  Did he make me sick? I don’t know but again the Bible Knowledge Commentary makes great sense out of this verse.

Christians know intuitively (oidamen) — though they may not always fully understand and sense it experientially — that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (lit., “to the ones who love God He works all things together unto good”). The things themselves may not be good, but God harmonizes them together for believers’ ultimate good, because His goal is to bring them to perfection in His presence (cf. Eph_1:4; Eph_5:27; Col_1:22; Jud_1:24). Even adversities and afflictions contribute to that end. The active voice present tense of the verb synergei (“He works together”) emphasizes that this is a continuing activity of God.

There is a synergy in all things.  God plus my circumstances (whether good or bad) working together.

synergism, synergy
the joint action of agents, as drugs, that, taken together, produce a greater effect than the sum of their individual effects.

To a greater effect.  James MacDonald often says “God’s love is not a pampering love but a perfecting love.”  Would God allow tragedy into my life to work his perfecting purpose in me?  Yes! He is so committed to his ultimate purpose in me that he will allow it and he will use it to prepare me for that day when I will stand in his presence.

Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7 HCSB)

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