What to Think and How to Feel When a Christ-Follower You Love Dies
September 25, 2022
A Chapter a Day
- Sunday, September 25, 2 Thess 1
- Monday, September 26, 2 Thess 2
- Tuesday, September 27, 2 Thess 3
- Wednesday, September 28, Hebrews 1
- Thursday, September 29, Hebrews 2
- Friday, September 30, Hebrews 3
- Saturday, October 1, Hebrews 4
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1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 (ESV)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
- God wants us to what will happen to Christ-followers who die.
- “Sleep” is a for the condition of “the dead in Christ” (cf. v. 16b).
- It is not for us to grieve when a Christ-follower we love dies.
- But our grief should be informed by and diminished by the we have in Christ.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
- Our hope is built on the death, resurrection, and of Jesus Christ.
- Those who have died in Christ will be at no disadvantage when Jesus comes again – they will “ first.”
- Those Christ-followers who are alive when Jesus returns will then be “caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be .”
1 Corinthians 15:50-57
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
If I am a follower of Christ, . . .
- When I die, my spirit (soul) departs from my body and is immediately “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Philippians 1:21, 23).
- When Jesus comes again, I will receive my resurrection body (imperishable and immortal) and, along with other Christ-followers, will be with the Lord forever.
Dr. J. I Packer writes: “Jesus was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23), and when he returns to this world he will raise his servants to a resurrection life like his own (1 Cor. 15:20–23; Phil. 3:20–21).. . . Christians alive at his coming will at that instant undergo a marvelous transformation (1 Cor. 15:50–54), while Christians who had died will experience a glorious re-embodiment (2 Cor. 5:1–5).
. . . .
Our present bodies, like Adam’s, are natural and earthly, subject to all sorts of weakness and decay until finally they perish. But our resurrection bodies, like Christ’s, will be spiritual (created, indwelt, and sustained by the Holy Spirit) and will belong to the eternal, imperishable, immortal, heavenly order of things (1 Cor. 15:45–54).
However, as the risen Jesus was recognizable by his disciples despite the change that resurrection had wrought in him, and as the re-embodied Moses and Elijah were recognizable at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3–4), and as re-embodied Jewish saints were recognizable at the time of Jesus’ rising (Matt. 27:52–53), so risen Christians will be recognizable to each other, and joyful reunions beyond this world with believers whom we loved and then lost through death are to be expected. That is implicit in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, which was written because persons who were alive in Christ feared they had finally lost those who had died in Christ; Paul wrote as he did about Christ’s return in order to assure them that they would certainly see their Christian loved ones again. (Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, pp. 254-255).
5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- The fact that we (along with all other Christ-followers) will live with the Lord forever is the ultimate reason that we can and should one another.