Memorial OPC: Fall Adult Sunday School - Westminster Shorter Catechism             11/22/09

Q37 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 in Christ, do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.

 

The Intermediate State

 

I.       There is an intermediate state for those who die before Christ returns.

        Luke 16.19-31                 Luke23.42.43

        Acts 7.59-60                   Philippians 1.21-23

        2 Corinthians 5.6-9         Hebrews 12.22-24

       

        Death does not usher in a state of unconsciousness.

        The soul is truly alive and fully conscious - this does not mean we fully understand this.

        Only two places for disembodied souls - heaven and hell.

 

II.       For Unbelievers this a state of provisional torment for the soul.

 

        cf. Luke 16

        A loss of all good

        A loss of all hope

        An infliction of intensified misery (see also Jude 7)

 

III.    For Believers this is a state of provisional glory for the soul.

 

        Comfort and Rest (Revelation 14.13)

        Paradise

        With the Lord

        Free from all sin and troubles

        Enjoyment of the fullness of God's love

        Gain of honor and dignity

        In the midst of a glorious and good company

 

IV. For Believers this is a state of expectant waiting for the body.

 

1 Thessalonians 4.14 - still united to Christ.

 

"This means that Christ still regards the human bodies of his people, even though dead and buried, as something exceedingly precious, because he intends to raise them up again at the Last Day. Therefore he does not regard the dead bodies of his people as something worthless, to be disregarded because of no more use, but as something valuable, to be watched over until the resurrection....the real and highest usefulness [of the Christian's body ] lies beyond the present life, in the life of eternity; therefore the dead body of a Christian is not something which has no further purpose or function " (J.G. Vos).