Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV)
In western society we have sanitised death! In the media we no longer are told that someone has died, but that they have passed? Why is society at large so afraid of death? The answer is found in the quote above from 1 Thessalonians 4 – it is because they ‘have no hope’.
Now we have to understand that Christians do not use the word ‘hope’ in the same way as the world does. In general usage, when a person says they hope something will happen, it is as if they are saying that they want something to occur, despite the odds. Not so for the Christian. When a Christian uses the word ‘hope’, it is based upon a certainty. That is why elsewhere in the Bible we are told to have confidence in our hope (e.g. Hebrews 10:23; 11:1). There is a line in a hymn which says:
‘My hope is based on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness‘
As Christians we can face the death of those we love in the knowledge that if they are in Christ we will meet them again. Of course grief is very real (and painful), yet we can have a confidence based on God’s faithfulness and Christ’s death and resurrection.
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