The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 109 of 160
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"Together, with them" (I Thess. 4: 17).
pp. 47, 48
The view which the enlightened believer upon conversion receives of the carnal nature
often produces in certain minds an unscriptural repudiation of homely and domestic
affections. To such their Lord is "an austere man", and holiness is synonymous with
mortification. To such the possibility of a practical working combination of holiness and
natural affection does not seem possible. The Apostle when foretelling the apostate times
of the end could place side by side, "unholy, without natural affection" (II Tim. 3:) and
could enjoin young widows to re-marry (I Tim. 5: 14).
To that man of God there was nothing carnal in the full appreciation of God's Fatherly
care, and while being thoroughly conversant with the joys of independence in the midst
of privation, he could nevertheless write of creature comforts, that God had given them
"richly to enjoy".
There are many, who, by the workings of this selfsame austerity, are deprived of the
"comfort of the Scripture" with reference to "that blessed hope".  Waiving for the
moment the dispensational position of I Thess. 4:, and seeking from it the comfort for
which it was primarily written, we would draw attention to one feature which has gripped
our own hearts, and turned the tears of sorrow into those of joy. The austere view,
touched upon above, tends to rule out the God-given natural affection that should find a
sanctified place in the hope of the believer. True it is that our hope is to meet the Lord,
be with Him and be like Him, whether the meeting take place on earth, in the air, or far
above all.
Some there are who have become persuaded that the meeting once again of loved ones
however is not to be uttered in the same breath. Yet, we feel sure that many whose lips
with all sincerity give utterance to these self-effacing words, will often feel their hearts
crying out for the assurance that the hope of meeting their Lord need not banish into the
background the hope of meeting their loved ones too.
It is here where the consolation of the Scripture is fuller and kinder than the
conceptions of man. The Divine order we find in I Thess. 4: 17 is "together with
them . . . . . to meet the Lord". There will be no furtive glances, no aching hearts, when
we enter into the presence of the Saviour. All we have loved and lost in the faith shall
meet again, and TOGETHER WITH THEM (and not otherwise) shall we MEET THE
LORD, and ever in unbroken unity be with Him.
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (verse 18).