For we that are in this tabernacle - We who are in this state of trial and difficulty do groan, being burdened; as if he had said: The whole of human life is a state of suffering, and especially our lot; who are troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, bearing about in the body the dying of our Lord Jesus, and being always delivered unto death on the account of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 4:8-11. These were sufficient burdens, and sufficient causes of groaning.
Not for that we would be unclothed - We do not desire death, nor to die, even with the full prospect of eternal glory before our eyes, an hour before that time which God in his wisdom has assigned.
But clothed upon - To have the fullest preparation for eternal glory. We wish not to die, whatever tribulation we may be called to pass through, till the whole will of God is accomplished in us and by us.
That mortality might be swallowed up of life - Being fully prepared for the eternal state we shall scarcely be said to die, all that is mortal being absorbed and annihilated by immortality and glory. See the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:51-56; (note). From the use of these expressions among the Jews, this seems to be the general meaning of the apostle.
For we - We who are Christians. All Christians.
That are in this tabernacle - This frail and dying body; note, 2 Corinthians 5:1.
Do groan - see 2 Corinthians 5:2. This is a further explanation of what is said in 2 Corinthians 5:2. It implies an ardent and earnest desire to leave a world of toil and pain, and to enter into a world of rest and glory.
Being burdened - Being borne down by the toils, and trials, and calamities of this life; see the note, 2 Corinthians 3:7-10.
Not for that we would be unclothed - Not that we are impatient, and unwilling to bear these burdens as long as God shall appoint. Not that we merely wish to lay aside this mortal body. We do not desire to die and depart merely because we suffer much, and because the body here is subjected to great trials. This is not the ground of our wish to depart. We are willing to bear trials. We are not impatient under afflictions. The sentiment here is, that the mere fact that we may be afflicted much and long, should not be the principal reason why we should desire to depart. We should be willing to bear all this as long as God shall choose to appoint. The anxiety of Paul to enter the eternal world was from a higher motive than a mere desire to get away from trouble.
But clothed upon - To be invested with our spiritual body. We desire to be clothed with that body. We desire to be in heaven, and to be clothed with immortality. We wish to have a body that shall be pure, undecaying, ever glorious. It was not, therefore, a mere desire to be released from sufferings; it was an earnest wish to be admitted to the glories of the future world, and partake of the happiness which we would enjoy there. This is one of the reasons why Paul wished to be in heaven. Other reasons he has stated elsewhere. Thus, in Philemon 1:23, he says he had “a desire to depart and to be with Christ.” So in 2 Corinthians 5:8 of this chapter, he says he was “willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, he speaks of the “crown of righteousness” laid up for him as a reason why he was willing to die.
That mortality might be swallowed up of life - On the meaning of the word rendered “swallowed up” ( καταποθῇ katapothē); see the note on 1 Corinthians 15:54. The meaning here is, that it might be completely absorbed; that it might cease to be; that there might be no more mortality, but that he might pass to the immortal state - to the condition of eternal life in the heavens. The body here is mortal; the body there will be immortal; and Paul desired to pass away from the mortal state to one that shall be immortal, a world where there shall be no more death; compare 1 Corinthians 15:53.