1 Thessalonians 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not…
The apostle next refers to the share of the Christian dead in the coming of Christ, respecting which some misapprehensions seem to have existed at Thessalonica.
I. THE DEATH OF FRIENDS IS A CAUSE OF DEEP SORROW TO SURVIVORS. Such sorrow is instinctive, and is not forbidden by the gospel: for "Jesus wept" at the grave of Lazarus, and the friends of Stephen "made great lamentation over him." True religion does not destroy, but restrains, natural affections.
II. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRISTIAN AND HEATHEN SORROW. That of the heathen is extravagant, because there is "no hope" in the death of their relatives. It is "the sorrow of the world," which is utterly uncheered by hope. The sorrow of the Christian is sober, and chastened by the hope of the gospel.
III. THE CAUSE OF THESSALONIAN SORROW.
1. It was not that there was a denial or doubt of the resurrection from the dead, such as existed at Corinth.
2. Nor was it that the resurrection was regarded as past already, according to the heresy of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
3. But it was that it was feared the Christian dead would not be raised to share with the living in the coming glories of the advent.
IV. THE RESURRECTION HAS CHANGED DEATH INTO A SLEEP. "Those that are asleep."
1. There is nothing in the word to justify the idea of the soul's unconsciousness in the period between death and resurrection.
2. Sleep implies an awaking. This will occur at the resurrection. Thus the hope of the Church is the hope of the resurrection.
V. THE IMPORTANCE OF EXACT KNOWLEDGE RESPECTING THE FUTURE DESTINY OF THE SAINTS. "I would not have you ignorant." Ignorance of the truth mars our spiritual comfort. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.