We know that when the tent which houses us here on earth is torn down, we have a permanent building from God, a building not made by human hands, to house us in heaven.
For in this tent, our earthly body, we groan with desire to have around us the home from heaven that will be ours.
With this around us we will not be found naked.
Yes, while we are in this body, we groan with the sense of being oppressed: it is not so much that we want to take something off, but rather to put something on over it; so that what must die may be swallowed up by the Life.
Moreover, it is God who has prepared us for this very thing, and as a pledge he has given us his Spirit.
So we are always confident - we know that so long as we are at home in the body, we are away from our home with the Lord;
for we live by trust, not by what we see.
We are confident, then, and would much prefer to leave our home in the body and come to our home with the Lord.
Therefore, whether at home or away from home, we try our utmost to please him;
for we must all appear before the Messiah's court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body.
So it is with the fear of the Lord before us that we try to persuade people. Moreover, God knows us as we really are; and I hope that in your consciences you too know us as we really are.
We are not recommending ourselves to you again but giving you a reason to be proud of us, so that you will be able to answer those who boast about a person's appearance rather than his inner qualities.
If we are insane, it is for God's sake; and if we are sane, it is for your sake.
For the Messiah's love has hold of us, because we are convinced that one man died on behalf of all mankind (which implies that all mankind was already dead),
and that he died on behalf of all in order that those who live should not live any longer for themselves but for the one who on their behalf died and was raised.
So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation - the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!
And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation,
which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, "Be reconciled to God!
God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God's righteousness."