“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”— 1 Thessalonians 4:14
Let us not imagine that the soul sleeps in insensibility. “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise,” is the whisper of Christ to every dying saint.
They “sleep in Jesus,” but their souls are before the throne of God, praising him day and night in his temple, singing hallelujahs to him who washed them from their sins in his blood. The body sleeps in its lonely bed of earth, beneath the coverlet of grass.
But what is this sleep? The idea connected with sleep is “rest,” and that is the thought which the Spirit of God would convey to us.
Sleep makes each night a Sabbath for the day. Sleep shuts fast the door of the soul, and bids all intruders tarry for a while, that the life within may enter its summer garden of ease.
The toil-worn believer quietly sleeps, as does the weary child when it slumbers on its mother’s breast. Oh! happy they who die in the Lord; they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
Their quiet repose shall never be broken until God shall rouse them to give them their full reward. Guarded by angel watchers, curtained by eternal mysteries, they sleep on, the inheritors of glory, till the fulness of time shall bring the fulness of redemption.
What an awaking shall be theirs! They were laid in their last resting place, weary and worn, but such they shall not rise.
They went to their rest with the furrowed brow, and the wasted features, but they wake up in beauty and glory. The shrivelled seed, so destitute of form and comeliness, rises from the dust a beauteous flower.
The winter of the grave gives way to the spring of redemption and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it, through the divine power, disrobes us of this work-day garment, to clothe us with the wedding garment of incorruption.
Blessed are those who “sleep in Jesus.”