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.
1. Is the happiness of believers confined to this present life? No: if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, 1 Cor. 15:19. Is the best of their happiness in this life? No: for in the world ye shall have tribulation, John 16:33. Must they die as well as others? Yes: it is appointed unto men once to die, Heb. 9:27. Must the best and most useful die? Yes: the righteous perisheth, and merciful men are taken away, Isa. 57:1. Ought they then to wait for it? Yes: All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come, Job 14:14. And to prepare for it? Yes: Therefore be ye also ready, Matt. 24:44.
2. Is death loss to a good Christian? No: for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, Phil. 1:21. Should it therefore be a terror? No: for the righteous hath hope in his death, Prov 14:32. Does God take special care of the death of his people? Yes: for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints, Ps. 116:15. Is death in the covenant? Yes: All is yours, whether life or death, 1 Cor. 3:22. Can it separate them from the love of God? No: neither death nor life can do that, Rom. 8:38.
3. Are believers perfect in holiness in this life? No: I have not yet attained, neither am already perfect, Phil. 3:12. Are their souls made perfect at death? Yes: the spirits of just men are made perfect, Heb. 12:23. Are they delivered from sin? Yes: he that is dead is freed from sin, Rom. 6:7. Are they made perfect in knowledge? Yes: Then shall I know, even as also I am known, 1 Cor. 13:12. And perfect in holiness? Yes: for they are come to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Eph. 4:13. Might they pass into glory without being made perfect in holiness? No: for corruption cannot inherit incorruption, 1 Cor. 15:50. Being made perfect in holiness, are they confirmed in it? Yes: He that is holy, let him be holy still, Rev. 22:11.
4. Do the souls of believers at death sleep with their bodies? No: for when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5:8. Do they go to Christ? Yes: Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, Phil. 1:23. And will he receive them? Yes: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, Acts 7:59. Shall they be where he is? Yes: That where I am there ye may be also, John 14:3. Will they be with him in heaven? Yes: We have a house not. made with hands, eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. 5:1. Do they pass into this glory at death? Yes: That when ye fail ye may be received into everlasting habitations, Luke 16:9. Do they immediately pass into it? Yes: This day shall thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43. Are they guarded by angels thither? Yes: he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, Luke 16:22. Are they happy then in their death? Yes: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, Rev. 14:13. Happier than in life? Yes: The day of their death is better than the day of their birth, Eccl. 7: 1. And is their end peace? Yes: Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace, Ps. 37:37.
5. Is death gain to the wicked man? No: for when a wicked man dies, his expectation shall perish, Prov. 11:7. Is it therefore a terror to the wicked? Yes: this night thy soul shall be required of thee, Luke 12:20. Do the souls of the wicked, at death go into torment? Yes: the rich man died, and was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, Luke 16: 22, 23. Do they go away under the guilt of their sins? Yes: If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins, John 8:24. Is it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? Yes: for our God is a consuming fire, Heb. 12:29. Are the souls of believers distinguished from them? Yes: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, Ps. 49:15.
6. Are the bodies of believers well provided for at death? Yes: for the Lord is for the body, 1 Cor. 6:13. May they be cheerfully committed to the grave? Yes; My flesh also shall rest in hope, Ps. 16:9. Do they still remain united to Christ? Yes: for they sleep in Jesus, 1 Thess. 4:14. Do they rest in their graves? Yes: for there the weary be at rest, Job 3:17. Is the grave a good Christian's bed? Yes: He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds, Isa. 57:2. May the saints triumph over the grave then? Yes: O grave where is thy victory? 1 Cor. 15:55. And need they to fear no evil in it? No: for the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, Isa. 11:8. Are all who are regenerate delivered from the second death? Yes: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death shall have no power, Rev.20:6.
7. Shall the dead be raised again? Yes: there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, Acts 24:15. Shall the same body be raised again? Yes: Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, Job 19:26. Shall it be done by the power of Christ? Yes: for as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor. 15:22 Shall there be a vast difference between the godly and the wicked at the resurrection? Yes: for some shall awake to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, Dan 12:2. Has Christ himself assured us of this? Yes: the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation, John 5:28,29. Is it certain when this shall be? Yes: for he hath appointed a day, Acts 17:31. But is it known to us? No: for of that day and hour knoweth no man, Mark 13:32.