1 Thessalonians 4:1-18
1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;
11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
13 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.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The initial acceptance of Christ as Lord came with repentance from sin and redirection toward a life found only in Him. This was giving up of a former self-will to comply with the loving will of the Father. While new life came with this choice and we were secured in a relationship with Him, it was but the first of a lifetime of “will-choices”. His life was received at conversion, but the abundant life to be lived from that point on comes with a continual option of will – ours or His. The process of submitting ours to His is sanctification, where our life looks progressively more like something that would please Him. Those who have truly repented and chosen Jesus as their Lord and Savior have committed to this process and will demonstrate it throughout their remaining life on earth. It is actually a beautiful response to discovery of God’s love in complying with His will for our very best. Those who commit to sanctification in salvation are those who can truly be comforted in the passing of loved ones, knowing that we will meet the One whose will we’ve chosen with them together in the air. The holiness that is His will is also the preparation for our meeting Him with confidence and anticipation with those who have gone before.