1 Thessalonians 4:15
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
I know. The title should be “when we die.” There’s no “if” to it, right? Well, not according to the Bible. At some point the Lord will return, and though we argue back and forth about it, most agree on the plain meaning of many of the words in the Bible concerning this. Here, in 1st Thessalonians, there is clearly a time when the Lord returns and people are still alive. They will be caught in the air, but don’t get to cut the line in front of those who have died. Now, if we can possibly step aside from the usual wrangling about this verse and others like it, I’d like to look at something with you. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians get to talk about death differently. This is amazing. Death is temporary. Death is not something every Christian will experience. Death is matter of fact and death’s days are now numbered. We can call it “falling asleep.” We’re not afraid of it anymore. There will soon be a day when there is no death, when death itself is a mere memory. And, in fact, it is plausible to say “if we die” rather than “when we die.” Praise God for His goodness and victory. It will be great shouting “He is Risen” once more to gathered crowds of believers on the Lord’s Day when we recall that first Lord’s Day (Easter), that first day He returned from the dead and death would never be the same.
Lord, thank You for Your resurrection from the dead. You conquered sin and death. You really did. I forget about this often. Help me forget about it less often and be profoundly encouraged by the facts of it. Thank you that your death brought about the death of death for all who believe. Amen!