Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chart of Salvation 9: God will one day take believers home

Previous: God gives assurance through growth.

When I was younger, we learned songs about the Christian life such as "Oh it is wonderful to be a Christian," "There is Joy in Serving Jesus," and "Happiness is to Know the Savior." There is truth in each of these statements. But that joy is often overshadowed by the cares of life that we all face. Christians still struggle with temptation. We still sin and need God's continued forgiveness. And we still face sickness, sadness, persecution, and death. And that is why this next point is so precious.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 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. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. —1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

In these verses, we learn that God will one day take believers home to heaven. Even though some believers have already died, all of us will be reunited when the Lord returns at a time called the Rapture. At that time, we will hear a shout, the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. Then the Lord will descend from heaven and all believers (both the living and the dead) will meet him in the air! From then on, each of us will receive a new, glorified body which will be free from sin and death. And God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. And in this glorified state, we will live with him forever! As we face the ups and downs of life, we can become discouraged. But this wonderful thought will bring us comfort as we consider the great future God has in store for each of us who have believed.

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