No Need To Perish
God's truthful Spirit will certainly provide us with wisdom as we claim the promises of Luke 11: 13 and James 1:5.
Let us review the beautiful promise quoted in Powerful Promises No. 7, in which God said that when He comes back to this earth in a blaze of glory, He will awaken His children who are in a death sleep and bring them to His home.
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word,, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the arch angel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
It's a comfort to know that God will not forget His children, regardless of where they may be when He returns.
He Never Forgets
But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me."
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:14-16
He hasn't forgotten us, or our needs. He gave His Son to die in our place. He'll give us everything we need.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19
Nor does He forget the good, loving deeds you let the Holy Spirit use you to do in the name of Jesus Christ. He rewards you as though it was your doing, even though He tells us it was God working in us.
... for it is God who is works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure. Phillipians 2:13
The hour of rewards is drawing very near!
Our marvelous opportunity to be in Heaven is drawing closer. Those who have accepted Christ's gift of His cleansing blood for their sins, and agreed to allow His Spirit to imprint God's commandments of love within their new nature, will be welcomed into God's city when He returns. God does not forget that we need Him. To sustain us, He will provide His life-giving power in the fruit of the tree of life, which we will be able to eat there.
God warned Adam and Eve that death would be the result if they ate the fruit of a certain tree that was in the center of their garden home. He wanted them to realize that life and obedience are inseparable, and that only in following closely the Creators loving guidance would they be safe.
And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:169 17
Mankind chose to cut himself off from God by listening to Satan, a rebellious, fallen angel (see Revelation 12:9). Satan, speaking through a serpent, said that humans would not die if God were distrusted and disobeyed. The Bible shares the conversation:
The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."'
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. Genesis 3:2-4
When Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve God, distrust His loving care, and disobey, the sin that entered their natures cut them off from eternal life. Instantly, the loving emergency plan God had previously prepared to preserve their lives went into effect. In this plan, God Himself would step into humanity. With this plan, Adam and Eve and their descendants would have the opportunity to start all over with a new nature. He would cleanse them of sin. His goodness would cover scars sin had made in their lives. But they would need to know that the gift of life, of a second chance, which would cost Christ so much, was a gift. It was not something they would receive in return for efforts of their own, such as picking fruit from a tree.
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24
Humanitys Second Chance
It was God who gave us the gift of life. He warned us that deliberate disobedience would cause man to be separated from life and perish forever. God, the Son, accepted the separation of death on the cross in our place. And it was God--Father and Son--who arranged a second chance for us so we wouldn't have to experience the permanent separation that will come when sin is finally eliminated, and sinners who are still attached to their sins will also perish. Here is the tremendous promise:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
We still experience death on this earth, but the Scriptures distinguish between our death now and the "perish" of John 3:16. Death, as we now know it, is called a lisleep.'
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." John 11:11-15
For the living know that they Will die, but the dead know nothing. Ecclesiastes 9:5
Look on me and answer, 0 Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death. Psalm 13:3
It is from this completely unconscious state that God will call His children back to life; actually recreating them, when He comes with all the glory of His kingdom as we saw described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
As Jesus Himself said:
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned-" John 5:28, 29
Resurrected: Each In His Own Turn
We are promised that, as surely as Jesus arose, those who are asleep in Jesus are not forgotten. They will be awakened, resurrected and recreated at His second coming.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
This powerful promise of resurrection expresses God's original will to make man in His image.
And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is writ. ten will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1 Corinthians 15:49-54
Because of Jesus, each of us can and will live again if we accept God's direction and His gifts. The old nature will then be totally changed spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. We'll be complete through His power.
No Separation, Ever
In our place, Jesus took the punishment of the death separation-the one that means "perish." He did it for us. We never need to feel hopeless, even if some of our loved ones have to sleep for a time in death; because God never forgets.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The death sleep we or our loved ones may experience now does separate families and friends here on earth, but because of God's love, it cannot separate us from Him. He doesn't forget us. Our God and Creator is a God who remembers His children. If we die before He returns the second time, He will awaken and recreate us at His coming! We'll be reunited with the rest of God's family. Once again, humanity will freely eat of the fruit of the tree of life. Mankind will never again be in danger of even a temporary separation from one another; never again in danger of perishing. We'll have Jesus with us forever. We'll have perfect, eternal life.
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