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Casket or Hope Chest? I Thessalonians 4:13-18

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My Father-in-Law is a plain and straightforward man.  Being pragmatic, he has always said that he did not want to spend a lot of money on an expensive casket that was just going to be put in the ground.  After all, he would not care how long it lasted!

 

So, when I saw a section on "Funereal Fulminations" on page 6 of the November 2001 issue of Mother Earth News, I had to read it.  

 

Casket or Hope Chest?One of the points made in the article was that in some states, only a funeral director could sell caskets.  Therefore, since they could not sell caskets, some woodworkers in those states were marketing plain caskets as "Hope Chests"!  And, there's no law against burying a body in a Hope Chest!

 

How appropriate, I thought, for a Christian to be buried in a Hope Chest, since Christians have a hope of heaven.  Not simply a wish for heaven, but a hope of heaven.

 

A wish means simply "to have a desire for."  A hope means "to desire with expectation of obtainment", "to expect with confidence."

 

Christians have a hope of heaven because we have an expectation of obtainment.  

 

Based on the word of God, we expect it with confidence as long as we remain in Christ - even after our death.

 

Hope based on the Word

Romans 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

 

Hope in Christ

Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

 

I Thessalonians 1:3 "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father"

 

I Peter 1:3-5 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

 

Hope if we continue in Christ

Titus 2:11-15 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."

 

Colossians 1:23 "...continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven..."

 

Hope even after death

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 "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.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

 

Do you have hope right now?

 

If you have done all these things, God has added you to his church (Acts 2:47) and hope is yours. Having received the hope of salvation, have you been walking in the light or wandered off into darkness (1 John 1:6-7)?  If you have left the light, I urge you to repent and pray, as we have example in Acts 8:18-24.

 

Hebrews 9:27 tells us, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment".  When we die, how will we leave this world?  God wants us all to be saved (II Peter 3:9), but we, each of us, determine that be either accepting or rejecting his Son.

 

Casket or Hope Chest?  Each of us decides for ourselves.

 

Please let us know if we can help in any way.

 

-- Zachary Van Tassel, December 2001 --

 


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