“Knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.”
This is the second occurrence of “knowing.” Knowing is how we form principles. As long as Peter is in his body, he will teach the Asia Minor Christians principles about eternal perspectives.
“Shortly” means impending, near at hand. Death is near at hand for Peter.
I must put off my tent,
“Put off” is a metaphor for removing a garment (2 Co 5:3,4). “Put off my tent” means to put off my body in death as a garment. Our “tent” or body is simply the cocoon or shell that surrounds the person. Physical death is impending for Peter. Peter says that he is about to die. When he dies, that will be his liberation, his emancipation. “They will bury the remains of my body, but my soul will continue in heaven.”
To “put off” our tent (our bodies) is death for a believer. Every Christian has three components, a body, a soul, and a spirit.
1 Th 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The above verse lists the Christian’s three components in order of importance: spirit, soul, and body. The “spirit” and “soul” are intangible. We cannot see or smell them. We can see, smell, and touch the “body.” Our “spirit” and “soul” are not resident in our arms. If we lose an arm, we do not lose our personality.
We are not our bodies. When it is time for us to move out of our body, they bury the body, but the two immaterial parts of our person continue. They only bury the physical “remains.” However, God will eventually resurrect even the body (1 Co 15). Some bodies will be resurrected to eternal life, and others will be resurrected to condemnation (Re 20:5,6).
Jn 5:29, “and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
The body and the spirit are not the same,
Jas 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
On the cross, Jesus said to one of the thieves who were dying with him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Lu 23:43). He did not say, “Today you will be with me in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.”
Every Christian has the expectation of eternal life.
No matter how sorry we might have lived as Christians, every believer has the prospect of eternity before them. No Christian will ever face condemnation,
Ro 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
The non-Christian will face judgment,
He 9:27, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”
In the eternal state, there is no more suffering (Re 21:4). Every believer receives an eternal inheritance (1 Pe 1:4,5) and a new home (Jn 14:1-6). One day we will also receive a resurrection body (1 Jn 3:1,2; Php 3:21).
At the point of belief in Christ’s death to forgive our sins, every Christian receives eternal life (1 Jn 5:11,12). We possess eternal life at the point of faith in Christ’s death to forgive our sins (Jn 5:24).