Four Facts About
Those Who Die In Christ
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
"I would not have
you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow
not, even as others which have no hope." Sorrow at the loss of a dear
companion and friend is unavoidable. But believers do not despair in their
sorrow. Our sorrow is sweetened with hope, both for our departed friends and
for ourselves. And our hope is based upon four facts revealed in these verses.
1. THOSE WHO DIE IN CHRIST ARE NOT DEAD.
They "are asleep" (v. 13). When the scriptures speak of believers as
dying, or dead, it is only to accommodate our weak understanding of things. The
bodies of God's saints sleep in the earth, in the arms
of Christ, awaiting the resurrection. But their souls are awake and alive with
Christ in heaven serving him day and night.
2. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO HEAVEN
WILL COME WITH CHRIST WHEN HE RETURNS TO THE EARTH (v. 14). When Christ comes
the second time in his glory, he will come with tens of thousands of his
saints. Those who are now with him in heaven will come back with him upon the
clouds of heaven.
3. THE DEAD BODIES OF THOSE GLORIFIED SAINTS WILL BE THE FIRST TO
RISE IN THE RESURRECTION (vv. 15-16). When the Lord appears in the air, the
bodies of our departed brethren will arise from their graves and be again
united to their souls in glorification. Then we, which are living, shall be
caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. He will destroy this present
earth, create all things new, and we shall descend with him to his new
creation. And all this shall be done in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!
4. AND WE, WITH OUR FRIENDS WHO NOW SLEEP IN CHRIST, SHALL FOREVER
BE WITH THE LORD (v. 17). There will be no more parting then! We shall be with Christ
and with one another forever! "Wherefore comfort (exhort and instruct) one
another with these words." Though all earthly relationships, precious as
they are, must be dissolved, and though our bodies must return to the dust
(This is the result of sin.), our union with Christ and our union with one
another in Christ shall never be broken. This is the fruit of grace! Death for
God's saints is not an enemy, but a friend which ushers us into the portals of
glory to be forever with Christ!