Read:1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
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.
“There is a difference between a belief in a conviction. A belief can become something you merely hold, a conviction is that which holds you.” Ravi Zacharias
One of the physicians I call on in Cincinnati maintains that when we die that’s it. There is nothing else. We simply cease to exist. But what if? What if he is wrong? Obviously, I believe he is wrong and his outlook on life causes him a great deal of pain. He has no hope.
What if our souls have no end, so that when we die, spiritually our lives extend into eternity?
For my physician friend, his life has been spent in the denial of God. He was raised as a Jewish boy who attended a private Christian school and then pursued his career in medicine and believing that God doesn’t exist. I suppose it is a conviction of his and so he is the kind of man Paul mentions in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 who “grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.”
At the end of the passage above, Paul reminds his readers to “encourage one another with these words.” How do those words contrast with those of my friend?