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Lesson # 37: Benefits from Christ at Death

Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 6:00
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series September 13 2009
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Lesson # 37—Benefits from Christ at Death

Shorter Catechism Q&A # 37

Q. 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 till the resurrection.

Memorize Q&A—Exposition

How shall we define the “souls of believers”? First, we are speaking of the souls that have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (“believers” being those who have been convinced of the Holy Spirit that ‘Joshua’ (Jesus) is the Christ the Son of the living God, the only Savior of mankind); and we are acknowledging the truth that “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:32; note Rom. 6:9–11).

What does it mean?

Discuss how Christians  “at their death are made perfect in holiness,” and are assured by Christ in his death and resurrection (Heb. 12:23); how believers “pass into glory” (2 Cor. 5:1, 6, 8, Phil. 1:23, Luke. 23:43); and how bodies are “united to Christ” (1 Thess. 4:14). “The dust of believers is part of Christ’s mystic body. The grave is a dormitory or place of rest to the saints, where their bodies quietly sleep in Christ, till they are awakened out of their sleep by the trumpet of the archangel” (T. Watson), “rest in their graves” (Isa. 57:2), “till the resurrection” (Job 19:26–27).

What is our practice?

It strengthens our love for God, for he loves us. It strengthens our faith in Christ, who is our ever-present Shepherd. It removes our fear of death, for our life is in Christ. It strengthens our witness as it reveals our hope in Christ. It reveals the truth of God’s promises in Christ. It comforts our souls, as we face tribulations and persecutions.

Quotes for thought and discussion:

For to me to live is Christ, i.e., Christ is the end of my life; I fetch my spiritual life from Christ, as the branch fetches its sap from the root. ‘Christ liveth in me.’ (Gal. 3:20). Jesus Christ is a head of influence; he sends forth life and spirits into me, to quicken me to every holy action. Thus, for me to live is Christ: Christ is the principle of my life; from his fullness I live, as the vine branch lives from the root.” (Thomas Watson)

Death, being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ? The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it; so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love, to free them perfectly from sin and misery, and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon. (Westminster Larger Catechism, 85)

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