In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
February 27, 2008 – The Hope of Jesus’ Return – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Throughout history, people have debated what happens after death. This subject in many ways remains a mystery since the dead cannot tell of their experiences.
Yet God’s Word contains an abundance of truth about life after death. In today’s verses, Paul explains what will happen at Christ’s return—both to the saints who have died and to those still living. First, Jesus will descend from the sky in a way similar to His ascension (Acts 1:11). Then, God will resurrect the bodies of departed believers. (Of course, as we know from 2 Corinthians 5:8, their spirits will have been with Jesus since the moment of physical death). Next, Christians who are still alive will be transformed; they’ll rise to meet Jesus in the air and will dwell with Him forever.
While we should strive to glorify the Lord every moment we’re alive, it is important to be aware of these future events. The reason is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13b: “So that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” In fact, verse 18 tells us to comfort each other with the understanding of what will happen when Jesus returns. Knowing the pain we encounter in this life—from tragedy, loss, fear, and sickness—God gives Christians a glimpse of the wonderful future in store.
What a loving heavenly Father! He understands our pain and gives us such hope, comfort, and strength to endure life’s hardships. Read the Scripture passage again—but this time, in place of the words “those who have fallen asleep,” substitute the name of a departed Christian you love— and bask in the hope that God has given.
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