5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Who is the we here? Paul and his companions. Why is he talking about death? Because he faces it on a regular basis. Remember yesterday? They aren't concerned with comfort and safety and all the other external things that we are told repeatedly are the things that matter. They live daily to make Jesus known at any cost and if it should cost them their lives they know it's not the end of the story. They know God has a future for them, a much better future than the present life. They will be trading a mortal body and a mortal life for an immortal one.
As wonderful as that is there is something else I want to explore here. Both Paul and Peter use the imagery of a tent to describe their physical body. Do you know why? It's not an accident. It has deep meaning.
In the Old Testament God said to Moses "Build Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among you." God gave instructions on exactly what and how to build this sanctuary. It was a tent. In John chapter 1:14, John wrote "The Word(Jesus) became flesh (human) and pitched His tent among us. Most english translations don't say exactly that but it's clearly what the Greek says.
The story is told of a boy who just wasn't behaving and his father knew he was scared of the attic so he told his son that if he kept behaving the way he was he was going to have to spend the night sleeping in the attic. The behaviour persisted and when bedtime came dad got a sleeping bag and up to the attic they went. The boy tried to be brave but wasn't doing very well. When dad had him settled somewhat he went back down to his own bed. From there he could hear his son whimpering and it was breaking his heart. He knew he couldn't change the punishment because if he did nothing would be learned. Tossing and turning while his son cried he came up with a solution. He grabbed another sleeping bag and returned to the attic where he laid down beside his son. He couldn't change where his son was so he joined him instead.
For reasons we don't yet fully understand God can't change where we are yet. He couldn't remove the penalty brought about by our choices. Instead He did something not even the angels could believe He would do. He joined us in the attic. He pitched His tent with us. He lived among us, was tempted in every way as we are, and died at our hands.
That's why Paul could boldly say "For we KNOW that if this tent is destroyed we have a building from God..." He was following in the footsteps of Jesus and the trail was already made. Jesus died and rose again and so will all who follow Him.