Friends, we need to be reminded very often of the encouragement offered from the book of Revelation for Christians to “Be Hopeful” in the face of all adversity. The Bible affirms that there is a future life – a resurrection from the state of death. Job might very well have expressed our own fears as he pondered in the long ago, Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again?” However, God’s Word answers boldly and affirmatively. The answer it gives is that those who die in the Lord will reign with Him.
Paul affirms the certainty of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:1-4). Based on that certainty, we believe that those who die in Jesus will be resurrected. Paul wrote I Thess. 4:13-18 so that Christians would remain hopeful, “not as those who have no hope.”
Jesus affirmed in John 5: 28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life: and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Paul cited proof of this resurrection in I Cor. 15: 1-8 in that Christ was seen of many witnesses after He was raised from the dead. All these witnesses were honest men who sealed their testimony in sacrifice, tears, and their own blood. Just as we believe that Jesus was raised up, we believe those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him (I Thess. 4:13-14). Many marvel at whether God can really do this, but it will be just as easy for Him to raise us, as it was to raise Jesus, and as it was to create Adam from the dust of the ground in the first place. Jesus says “Marvel Not!”
Peter calls this Hope “…an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:4). He further declares concerning this hope in 2 Peter 3:13-14 – “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
But Friends, the key is to “sleep in Jesus.” To sleep in Jesus, one must live with Jesus. We must Be Faithful!! Paul tells us in Romans 6:5 that we must be planted in the likeness of his death: “For if we have been planted in together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Our old man of sin must be crucified with Christ: Romans 6:6 “Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The result of this is a blessing beyond human comprehension! Rev. 22:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
To “Be Hopeful” We Must “Be Faithful!” “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev 2:10).
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.