Daily Readings and Thought for November 17th. “THAT YOU MAY NOT GRIEVE AS OTHERS DO WHO HAVE NO HOPE”
Paul’s reassurance in writing to the believers at Thessalonika is so much needed today when the true faith is under threat both from unbelief and – what we might call – misbelief. The great majority who die have no hope of any future life, and some others who have a vague idea of a spirit sort of life in the clouds of heaven.
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. Paul’s words are just as much a message for us today. His assurance was so “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”. Then Paul goes on to write of those who are still alive, as all of you are who are reading this! He says, “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” the righteous will help him reign on the earth. (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 us. “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.”