Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Joel 2:31-32, 1 Corinthians 15:42-49
God keeps His promises.
It’s an indisputable fact that no one can keep promises better than God. I will not be persuaded otherwise, and neither should you. After repeatedly attempting to achieve lifelong happiness by setting my hope on the promises of friends, boyfriends, or family members, and then finding myself picking up the pieces of my broken heart after the carpet got yanked out from under me each time, I finally can speak this truth: There ain’t nobody NOWHERE that can keep a promise like God can!
Allow me to elaborate.
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul encourages believers not to grieve hopelessly when fellow Christians die. Grieving like there is no hope is what the world does, not what Christians do. Paul isn’t trying to be callous here—of course there is room to grieve when a loved one dies. He’s using that example as a way to illuminate a substantial promise from God: Life in this world is only the beginning.
Here’s the thing: the same power (God’s power) that raised Christ from the dead is taking up active residence in every believer. God’s power transforms us from those who were once walking in darkness into children of glorious light. This illuminating power enables us to lead lives of godliness and holiness— teaching, correcting, convicting, guiding, and comforting us. And it is that very same power that gives God’s people strength and peace in their dying hour.
But God’s power doesn’t stop working there. Today’s reading promises that His power is working even after death, resurrecting believers into life eternal. This is the great hope: when this life has been lived, we get to spend eternity in paradise! Paul urges his audience to build up fellow weary believers with the truth of this promise.
In today’s decidedly postmodern, secularist world, the idea of spending an eternity in paradise seems pretty far-fetched. We’re taught to trust what we can see and can be proven with tangible evidence. But as citizens of the kingdom of God, we’re instructed to trust One that we can’t see or touch. How do we do that? Well, it takes faith. But not blind faith—informed faith. We need faith that relies on what we already know to be true about God and His promises. Here’s a small pool of evidence:
God promises Abraham that He would make him a great nation… Check!
God promises to deliver the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt… Done!
God promises to send a Messiah… Yep!
God promises to send the Holy Spirit… Again, check!
Even with just a few examples, it’s plain for us to see that God promises big, but He always delivers. Even if no one else in our world can keep a promise, God can. But listen, don’t keep this good word to yourself! “Encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Let another sister know that when we’re tossed around by the broken promises of others, or when it seems that we’re just spinning our wheels in this life of faith, we’ve got to remember this promise from God: This life is only the beginning.
And you can take that to the bank.
Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.