I Thess. 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The third profit we have of Christ’s resurrection is stated in the catechism, “The resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.”
What a beautiful perspective this gives to us of our death. We observe death on this side of the grave as horrible defeat. It often takes away a loved one either through prolonged suffering or sudden tragedy. When breathing stops, the body immediately collapses and decay begins. It is so pervasive that we must put away the body very soon. Accompanying this process of dying are the tears of grief, the pain of separation, and the loneliness of departure. No wonder the Bible speaks of death as the last enemy. No one volunteers, no one gives up a loved one, and death must rip them out of our arms.
Here we have affirmed that death is not the end of our loved one who dies in faith. Notice, “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again”. That is crucial and the believers throughout the world express this in this article of faith, “I believe that Jesus died and on the third day rose again from the dead.” All who believe this also believe that when we die our body goes temporarily to the grave, but our souls go into the presence of Jesus. The passage calls it, “sleep in Jesus”. Sleep is from the point of view of this world, but awake is from the point of view of the soul’s presence with Jesus. Such fellowship with Jesus casts off all tears, pain, suffering, sin and every evidence of death; and replaces them with conscious deliverance and freedom to enjoy holiness.
Now, because Jesus has risen from the dead, He will come with all the saints who are with Him in glory and at the sound of the trump raise bodies out of the grave (or where-ever the decay remains) and give to every one of us a new body, like unto His own resurrected body. This is necessary because “sleeping in Jesus” is a temporary condition called the intermediate state of the soul. When Christ comes at the end, He will make a new heaven and earth and there we will need a new body fit to dwell there.
May God strengthen our faith in Christ’s resurrection.
Rev Jason Kortering (Wife: Jeannette)
Ordained: September 1960
Pastorates: Hull, IA - 1960; Hope, Walker, MI - 1966; Hull, IA - 1970; Hope, Redlands, CA - 1976; Loveland, CO - 1979; Grandville, MI - 1984; Minister-on-Loan (Hope PRC, Walker, MI), Singapore - 1992
Emeritus: 2002Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Jason_Kortering
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