God is Living
Concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying “ I am the god of Abraham, the god of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? God is not the God of the dead, but of the Living. Matthew 22:31-32
People have always been fascinated with death. The mystery of what happens once we have taken unless breath on earth have always been intriguing. We want to know what happens when someone breathes his or her last and we want some assurance that death is not the end. Jesus gave us a strong promise when he corrected the assumptions of those who thought that was the end. He promised resurrection and life, and in fact, he said that believers who have died are alive – right now!
Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the most hopeful signal ever given to mankind. Death isn’t the end, and life conquers the grave. God doesn’t reign over cemeteries, tombs, and church floors. He reigns over those who are alive-in this life and in the one to come.
This promise gives us confidence that we can face death with a strong sense of hope. At the moment our human spirit leaves us we enter the presence of God, the Angels, and all the believers who have gone before us. And there, we’ll be more alive than we’ve ever been.
“ The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.
When we see all the darkness in this world, the evil that abounds, the struggles of life and bodies that age and lose their vitality and strength, we need something to hope in and hope for. Christ has given us reason for life and living and hope- the resurrection. In a little over a month we will celebrate Easter. We will remember with solemn hearts the crucifixion. Who could forget the horrors of the suffering of Christ on our behalf? When we think about His betrayal by a close friend, His abandonment by His other friends, we shudder. I think it’s beyond our comprehension when we read of His scourging with the whip, the beating of the crown of thorns into His head, and the agony of crucifixion. It’s interesting that while the Bible tells the story, it doesn’t dwell there but hastens to the third day- resurrection day. Paul will say that without the resurrection every thing would be in vain. Scripture tells us that Christ endured the sufferings because He was looking toward the joy that was set before Him. What was that joy? That we would be born again, pass from death to life and when our physical bodies die, our spirit will inhabit a new glorified body in the resurrection.
Whatever is happening in your life, dear Christian, don’t lose hope. In the end if we remain faithful unto death, our passing will not be something of sorrow but if great joy. It will be so because we know that the split-second we are absent from our natural bodies we are present with the Lord.
Paul as he was writing to the Thessalonians reminded them and us that death is not the end but the beginning. It is graduation day when we put off this earthly body and put on our new glorified one. We will leave this earth and all its troubles behind and enter into heaven’s door with our loved ones in the presence of God and before the throne of the Lamb of God. Let me share Paul’s words with us:
“Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
No wonder Paul encouraged us to rejoice in the Lord as we think about what is to come. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in this world and all it’s troubles that it’s like a cloud blocking the sun. Let us remember that even when we can’t see the sun, it is still shining. One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had with this was flying out of Heathrow Airport in London. The whole of the day had been raining, dark clouds and fog. The grayness was somewhat depressing. As the plane ascended above the clouds, once we were above then, there was the sun shining bright. The clouds that had been dark underneath were brilliant white. One day Jesus is going to lift us up above the dark clouds of this world and the glory we behold won’t be the sun shining but we will behold the glory of the Lamb of God.
As we progress toward Easter, let us remember that the darkness of night doesn’t last forever. Morning comes with the beauty of sunrise. Let us remember that the Bible says that weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. If life has worn you down with all its troubles and trials, wait for the morning. It will come.
I don’t know what will happen with the pandemic or the Russia/Ukraine conflict or inflation or the violence and division or the political mess, but I do know one thing. Jesus is coming- I believe soon- and what a day, glorious day that will be. Our loved ones who died in Christ will be resurrected and if we are still alive we will be changed and caught up together with them and Christ. Life will truly begin at that moment. That’s worth waiting for with expectant hope.
I hope this lifts up your heart today. If so why don’t you share this with someone you know that may need hope and comfort.
Dr. John Thompson