Even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. - 1 Thessalonians 4:14
Let us not imagine that the soul sleeps in insensibility. "Today you will 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 that the Spirit of God would convey to us. Sleep makes each night a sabbath for the day. Sleep shuts tight the door of the soul and bids all intruders wait 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.
Happy are they who die in the Lord; they rest from their labors, and their works follow them. Their quiet repose will never be broken until God shall rouse them to give them their full reward. Guarded by angelic watchers, curtained by eternal mysteries, they sleep on, the inheritors of glory, until the fullness of time shall bring the fullness of redemption.
What an awaking will be theirs! They were laid in their last resting place, weary and worn, but they will not rise in that condition. They went to their rest with furrowed brow and wasted features, but they wake up in beauty and glory. The shriveled seed, so devoid of form and beauty, rises from the dust a glorious flower. The winter of the grave gives way to the spring of redemption and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since through the divine power it removes our working clothes and dresses us with the wedding garment of incorruption. Blessed are those who sleep in Jesus.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright (c) 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187