1We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it.2During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing.3Then we will not be naked.4While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don't want to be naked. We want to be dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life.5God has made us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.6So here is what we can always be certain about. As long as we are at home in our bodies, we are away from the Lord.7We live by believing, not by seeing.8We are certain about that. We would rather be away from our bodies and at home with the Lord.9So we try our best to please him. We want to please him whether we are at home in our bodies or away from them.10We must all stand in front of Christ to be judged. Each one of us will be judged for the good things and the bad things we do while we are in our bodies. Then each of us will receive what we are supposed to get.
Christ Brings Us Back to God
11We know what it means to have respect for the Lord. So we try to help other people to understand it. What we are is plain to God. I hope it is also plain to your way of thinking.12We are not trying to make an appeal to you again. But we are giving you a chance to take pride in us. Then you can answer those who take pride in how people look rather than in what is really in their hearts.13Are we out of our minds? That is because we want to serve God. Does what we say make sense? That is because we want to serve you.14Christ's love controls us. We are sure that one person died for everyone. And so everyone died.15Christ died for everyone. He died so that those who live should not live for themselves anymore. They should live for Christ. He died for them and was raised again.16So from now on we don't look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don't anymore.17Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!18It is all from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ's death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ.19God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people's sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him.20So we are Christ's official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God!21Christ didn't have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.