Don't Be Ignorant About Death

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13, ‘Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.’


Observations: Paul suddenly changes topic and introduces the issue of Christ’s return, which he deals with for the bulk of the rest of this letter (4:13-5:11). Firstly, Paul says, ‘we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep.’ The concept of ‘falling asleep’ is a polite way of talking about those who die. Paul doesn’t want them to be ignorant about what happens after death. Secondly, Paul doesn’t want us ‘to grieve like the rest of men.’ He’s not saying we shouldn’t grieve when a loved one dies, but that our grief should be different than other people’s. And the difference is that we have ‘hope.’ While others are uncertain about life after death, or even fear it, as Christians we can be certain about what awaits us and even look forward to it. Paul goes on to say that what awaits us is a glorious resurrection (v16) and that we will be with Jesus forever (v17).


Application: Do you know what will happen to you when you die? Do you know where you are going? Do you fear death, or do you look forward to it? What is your hope? My prayer is that you have put your hope in Jesus Christ, that through faith in his death on the cross you know that he has defeated death, and that eternal life awaits you. Do you hope for the day when you get to see Jesus face to face? Do you hope for the day when Jesus makes all things new? Do you hope for the day when Jesus wipes away all your tears? Do you hope for the day when sin is done away with for ever?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, my hope for the next life is in Jesus, that he has dealt with my sin, that I have been adopted into Your family, and that I can stand before You with confidence, not based on my goodness, but because of Your grace. Lord, I look forward to the day when I will see You face to face, and I can worship You as You really are. Lord, I long for the day when my faith will be sight, and when my sin will be no more, and my existence will be made perfect. Lord, I pray that You will come soon and make all things right, that Your glory will fill the earth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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