Today’s readings.. (Nehemiah 4), (Hosea 14), (1 Thessalonians 3,4)
The reassurance Paul gave the believers at Thessalonica in his first letter to them is so much needed today. The true original faith is under threat both from unbelief and – what we might call – misbelief – also – an undefined sort of belief.
The great majority who die have no hope of any future life, while some others have a vague idea of a spirit sort of continuing existence in heavenly realms, for which there is no evidence in God’s word..
Paul writes to clear up any doubts about the certainty of our future life when Jesus comes – for those who have committed their lives to him and have been baptised into water in his name, but who have since died.. Paul’s words are a message of true hope. His assurance was so “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”. [ch. 4 v.13] concerning those who die having held the true faith. Paul then writes about those who are still alive, as all of you are who are reading this!
What he says is vitally important, “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. 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. 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” [1Thess. 4 v.15-18]
Other scriptures make it clear that in always being “with the Lord” those accounted as righteous through his grace will have some capacity in aiding his reign on the earth. (see Revelation 5 v.10; 20 v.6; Matt. 19 v.28; 2 Tim.2 v.12)
Finally, we noted the last 2 verses of the 3rd chapter, which are just as meaningful for those seeking to be on the side of Christ and to have the same commitment of mind as existed in the First Century. “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”