Lord's Day 19

Week 18 :: Week 19 :: Week 20


Sometimes, in order to comfort those who are grieving, or to answer the questions of children, we say things that may have little or no Biblical foundation. I heard one pastor, when asked by a child if her doggy would be in heaven, reply, “If you need your doggy there for it to be heaven, then, yes, your doggy will be there.” 

Staying within the teaching of scripture, we find several key truths regarding what happens upon death. Remembering that death is the consequence of sin, and is ultimately the separation from God, we know that, in Christ, death has lost its power and claim over us. Therefore, the souls of those who are in Christ, “immediately return to God who gave them.” We see this best in Christ’s words to the criminal on the cross, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” The catechism teaches that there is no “sleep of the soul,” rather the soul “passes into glory,” experiencing an immediate union with the Father. 

The body, meanwhile, returns to the dust from which it came. One might say that the effects of death are seen in the body long before we die, as age and illness consume us. We are constantly reminded, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” Still, death cannot separate us from Christ, and even in death our bodies share a union with Christ, and by the power of His resurrection, our bodies will be raised up, with different qualities, and reunited with the soul forever in a glorified and perfected state. 

What an amazing assurance! Death holds no power over us; it is merely the doorway to a more complete existence in the presence of God. On the day of resurrection, we who are in Christ will be received before God, hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 


Almighty God, we thank you, that in the death and resurrection of Christ your Son, you destroyed the power of death, and secured for us the promise of life everlasting. May we, by the power of your Holy Spirit, live in this truth for your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Question 37

Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?

A. The souls of believers are, at their death, made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves until the resurrection.

Scripture Proofs

Heb 12:23;

and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

2 Cor. 5:1;

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 Cor. 5:6;

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

2 Cor. 5:8;

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Phil. 1:23;

I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Luke 23:43;

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

1 Thess. 4:14;

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Isa. 57:2;

he enters into peace;

they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.

Job 19:26-27.

And after my skin has been thus destroyed,

yet in my flesh I shall see God, 

whom I shall see for myself,

and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

My heart faints within me!

Question 38

Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up to glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

Scripture Proofs

1 Cor. 15:43;

It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.

Matt. 25:23;

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Matt. 10:32;

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

1 John 3:2;

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

1 Cor. 13:12;

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Thess. 4:17-18.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.