“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope“
lest you sorrow as others who have no hope
“Sorrow” means to cause pain or grief, to distress, vex, be sad. Christians do not have the same pain as non-Christians when it comes to the death of the physical body. Christians know the soul goes immediately into the presence of God. Therefore, Christians grieve, but not in the same way. Christians do not grieve as those who have no hope.
Jesus grieved over the death of a friend (John 11:35). This does not mean that He despaired over ever seeing His friend again. Normal human beings grieve over the physical death of their loved ones (Philippians 2:27). God does not dehumanize Christians by removing grief from the realm of experience.
Many non-Christians believe that, when they die, they will go into a dark, dank hole and decay until their body is no more. They have no hope beyond the grave. Others have no idea what is on the other side. They have no guarantee about eternity. They hope only in the present, not in the future.
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12).
Death does not end all for believers, so there is no need for unnecessary sorrow.
Some Christians grieve over their dead loved ones like pagans do, as if they have no hope of ever seeing them again. Christians sorrow, but they do not sorrow like the lost. God does not keep Christians from human sorrow. But their sorrow is not a final sorrow. There is as much difference between a Christian funeral and a pagan funeral as there is between black and white.
Many non-Christians are afraid to die, because they do not have a hope beyond the grave. They have no Heaven. They know nothing of sins forgiven.
Christians have a glorious hope. Because Christ rose from the death eternally, so we will also rise.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
”To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope…” (1 Timothy 1:1).
“…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…” (Titus 1:2).
“…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).
There is no hope apart from Christ. If we put our hope in our church, we will be disappointed. If we put our hope in a political system, that will fail us. Washington or Ottawa will not offer permanent peace. If we place our hope in the United Nations, we will end in disillusionment. Only Christ offers permanent, eternal hope.
It is one thing for Christians to grieve over their loved ones but it is another to grieve inordinately. The resurrection of Christ persuades against surplus sorrow. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope. His resurrection kills death; therefore, death does not annihilate the person from existence. It simply separates the immaterial part of human beings [soul and spirit] from the material part [the body]; until the resurrection of the body from the grave.