Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 36

to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

  • Hebrews 12:23

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

  • Luke 23:43

In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

  • Luke 16:23

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

  • Philippians 1:23

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

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

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death.

  • Isaiah 57:2

And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;

  • Job 19:26

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

  • Romans 8:23

Q. 36. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
“A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness (Heb. 12:23), and do immediately pass into glory (Phil. 1:23, 2 Cor. 5:8, Luke 23:43); and their bodies, being still united to Christ (1 Thess. 4:14), do rest in their graves (Isa. 57:2) till the resurrection (Job 19:26).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“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 till the resurrection.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

The Larger Catechism continues its divergence with points on justification, adoption, and sanctification in more detail.  The wording in the Spurgeon and Shorter Catechisms are the same, but the biblical proofs vary, with Spurgeon quoting three not in the Shorter and the Shorter quoting two that are not in the Spurgeon and two extra verses from 2 Corinthians 5.

This one question brings up a lot of points that I have heard discussed recently.

When we die, our new body will not have the sin nature.  Sin will be dead.  We will be holy before God.  And this answer says two things that seem to contradict, but they do not.  Our soul will immediately be with the Lord, but our body will remain asleep, and the physical body will be resurrected later, being made pure.  I don’t know how that works.  It may be that this lag between points in time is that when we die, time is something completely different.  Will time even exist?  Can we be at a point where we can see time play out on earth?  If so, will we be restricted in what we are allowed to see?  My thought there is seeing when my grandparents first met or seeing something from another country.

Or could it be entirely different.  It seems as if no time has passed, but we breathe our last on earth and then suddenly we are at the Judgment Seat at the end of time.  This might not be a play on words, but merely a way of getting around being outside time.

Yet, with the resurrection of the body, this point is a reason why most Christians in past centuries buried the body rather than cremation.  Today, cremation has become the preferred method in many cases due to the high cost of a body burial.  It really comes down to God performing a miracle.  Our body will be resurrected from ashes or from a decayed corpse, and then animated.  It is almost something from nothing in either case, and God has the power to make that happen in either case.

And now let us sing.

The following song, Sweet Beulah Land is sung by the composer, Squire Parsons, with the help of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.  Squire Parsons singing this song was the only music at my father’s funeral, and it covers a lot of what has been discussed: eternity,

I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore.

Beulah Land (Beulah Land) I’m longing for you (I’m longing for you)
And some day (And some day) on thee I’ll stand (Someday we will stand)
There my home (There my home) shall be eternal (Eternal)
Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land

I’m looking now, just across the river
To where my faith, shall end in sight (Shall end in sight)
There’s just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.

Beulah Land (Beulah Land) I’m longing for you (I’m longing for you)
And some day (And some day) on thee I’ll stand (Someday we will stand)
There my home (There my home) shall be eternal
Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land
Beulah Land, oh it’s Beulah Land
Oh Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land

  • Squire Parsons, Sweet Beulah Land

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You.  Please guide us.  We long to be with You in Heaven, but we know the longer we stay here on earth, the more work we still have left to do.  Guide us in finding the right work to meet Your perfect will in our lives, and thank You for the promises that You will keep, where there will be no more death, sin, crying, or pain.
In thy Name we pray.
Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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