Monday, 14 August 2017
Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18
“Therefore” is given to sum up the words of verses 13-17. They respond directly to the words, “lest you sorrow as the others who have no hope” which are found in verse 13. Where there is no hope apart from Christ, there is total assurance in Christ. When a Christian is properly instructed in what Paul has said, there may be grieving in the pain of separation, but the grounded believer will not grieve with the sorrow of the sense of total loss. There will be no lingering question as to what has become of their lost loved one in Christ. Rather, there will be a sense of surety that death is defeated, and that the time of separation will come to a happy end.
This is why he finishes the thought with, “comfort one another with these words.” Actually, Young’s Literal Translation gives the correct sense by following the Greek which says, “in these words.” It is an admonition to us from Paul that we should repeat the words Paul has written when the need arises. In them comfort is to be found. The grieving soul can immerse himself in them as if in a blanket of assurance.
Life application: The closing paragraph of 1 Thessalonians 4 is one of hope and one of comfort. Even if we do not memorize the verses, we should memorize where they can be found. All people will inevitably face the loss of death, and for the believer in Christ, they will need a reminder that death is not the end of their lost love who was also in Christ. However, we need to never give a false hope. These words are not to be passed on when the dead was not a follower of Christ. We are to stand firm on the truth that only those in Christ will be included in Paul’s words concerning the rapture and our gathering together to be with the Lord.
Lord God, there is comfort in Christ that is found in no other place. Your word teaches that there is but one way to reconciliation with You, and that is through Jesus. All others have the choice to receive or reject this narrow path. But what an incredible thing that You have even given us one path! It is we who turned from You, and yet it is You who have offered us peace. Thank You for what You have done for us. Thank You for the path back home. Amen.