Thursday, 24 August 2017
…who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:10
Paul now completes the thought of the previous verse, beginning with the words, “who died for us.” He is certainly tying this into the thought of both clauses of the previous verse –
1) For God did not appoint us to wrath – because Jesus took our wrath upon Himself in His death.
2) …but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ – He died for us, giving up His human, earthly life so that we could be saved.
It is Christ’s death which “delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10), and it is belief in His work, including His atoning death, which God credits to us for righteousness (Romans 4). And this is true “whether we wake or sleep.” Paul is ensuring that the believers in Thessalonica (and thus us!) understand that Christ’s return is for all believers, both those who have died (or, as Paul says, “sleep”), and those who are awake. At His coming all will be gathered together as one and will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye. There will be none lost, but all shall be saved and given new and eternal life at that time.
It is from this moment, that “we should live together with Him.” Christ was raised to eternal life, and so we too will be raised to eternal life. Christ ascended to heaven, and so we too shall ascend to heaven. We will participate in the events that He has laid out for us as is detailed in the final chapters of Revelation, and the saints of God shall rejoice in an existence which will never end. It will be one of marvelous wonder, endless delight, and eternal joy. Stay tuned; Christ is coming again to make all of this come about.
Having said that, the word “together” isn’t to be connected to the words “with Him.” Rather, it refers to those who are awake and those who are asleep. The event which occurs at the rapture will occur for the living and the dead at that time, as is detailed in verse 4:13-18.
Life application: Death has no hold on those in Christ. If you are facing the death of a loved one who believes, or if you are facing your own earthly end, you should not worry. God cherishes your faith at all times. How much more when that faith is demonstrated at the door of the great unknown encounter we call “death.” In Christ, death is defeated; and in Christ, death has no sting. Let us stand firm on this truth and receive additional rewards for continued faith at such a time.
Heavenly Father, as mortal beings, we are all sure to face death unless you come first for us at the rapture. Help us to maintain our faith, even in the face of this great unknown door which we have never passed through before. As it approaches, let us be confident in the promises which are found in Christ, and which tell us that death is a defeated enemy. Thank You, O God, for Jesus Christ who delivers us even from death itself. Amen.