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Catechism Class: LD16 To Die is GAIN!

31/01/2022

Catechism Class:  Lord’s Day 16, Q.42. To Die is Gain!

Q42. “Since, then, Christ died for us, why must we also die?”  The answer we must give is, “Our death is not a satisfaction for our sin, but only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.” 

Our instructor wants to know why, if Christ has taken our death, Christians themselves must also physically die. It’s a logical and completely fair question. After all, Jesus himself told us in: John 11:25-26. Paul gives us another angle on this in Philippians, where he gives the Christian’s death a PURPOSE all of its own. He tells us that TO DIE IS GAIN! How can this be? 

1. The Christian’s Death is DIFFERENT!

The Christian’s death is different, when a Christian dies, his or her death is not a punishment for sin, which it is for others. From the fall, death has been part of the curse, part of being one of Adam’s fallen race, a punishment for sin, for ‘the soul that sins shall die.’  Romans 6:23  Jesus has defeated death for us, and its sting has been removed. The Christian’s death is not in any way a punishment for his sin, for that punishment has already been taken by Jesus.  Philippians 1:23  1 Corinthians 15:54-56 

2. Death is the END of Our Earthly Struggle.

Frequently we bury people who have suffered from terminal illness for many years before they die. Many of them have bravely fought their illness, and their families will want that fact acknowledged at the funeral.  But when did you ever attend a funeral and hear the preacher say something like this, For all of his life he has struggled with a dreadful affliction called sin. He was tempted many times, and great was that temptation. He even yielded to it from time to time, and he was frequently on his knees engaged in spiritual warfare, battling against his human flesh and his old sinful nature, which was trying to drag him down. He attended worship and read the Scriptures and sought the Lord for the mortification of sin. But now he is free! All his sin and sorrow and misery is over. He has finally been set free from sin!” What a great gain that is! We rejoice with him in that sin no longer has any power over him.  At death the believer is released from the presence of sin forever!

3. Death Heralds our Entry into Glory!

There is also a positive benefit to the believer’s death. It is our entrance into glory for not only are we taken away from sin but we are taken into God’s presence. We cannot take these earthly bodies to heaven with us. We leave them to rot in the ground, and we go forward to heaven, with the Lord, to meet our Saviour, face to face, and to await the day of the General Resurrection of the Dead, when Christ shall return, and the dead will be raised with incorruptible bodies, like His, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  The plain teaching of the Bible is that the Soul of the child of God goes to heaven at death! There is no intermediate place, the redeemed of the Lord, go to GLORY!  2 Cor. 5:8  Psalm 73:24-25.   When the believer dies he goes immediately into the presence of the Lord, and he will begin to experience for all eternity, something which is more beautiful, more fulfilling, more satisfying, than anything he or she has known or experienced in this world! Heaven will be fantastic!  Is it any wonder that Paul said that to die is gain!

4. So what then will that entry into heaven mean for the believer?

It will mean:-

  • A wonderful new home! It really is a home, too, for Jesus speaks about this new heavenly abode as ‘my father’s house.’ He said in John 14:2,  Luke 10:20   2 Corinthians 5:5  It is a longing for home that characterises the Christian’s attitude to heaven.  
  • Being in the immediate presence of Christ, our Redeemer.  And when we see him – we shall be like him! We will all be changed to be like him. 1 John 3:2  Acts 7:55  Luke 23:43  
  • We receive a reward. We certainly don’t serve our master to get such a reward, but nevertheless there is a reward for faithful service, and it serves as a great encouragement as we labour and toil in this world, as we live for Jesus in a culture that hates him.  Hebrews 11:24-26  Matthew 5:11-12  Revelation 4:10  2 Timothy 4:8   James 1:12   1 Peter 5:4 .
  • We rest from all our labours. Death is often referred to as ‘rest.’ We recline in God’s ‘everlasting arms.’ Deuteronomy 33:27  Revelation 14:13   2 Thessalonians 1:7  Job 3:17  Hebrews 4:9  
  • We enjoy the communion of the saints. We will know one another, and we will converse and commune with each other and we shall enjoy true unbroken fellowship together.  
  • We will discover our true purpose in life! So great will be our personal fulfilment and social and spiritual interaction on that day, with other saints and with our Lord, that we will truly, and for the first time, appreciate that this moment in glory is the very reason why God created us in the first place, as we learn in the Shorter Catechism:  Q.1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. 
  • Our souls are made perfect.  When we die, sanctification is completed.

How vastly different is the Christian’s departure from this world.   2 Corinthians 5:8  Revelation 14:13  

Conclusion

Whatever you are enjoying here on this earth, whatever pleases you or excites you, or makes you happy — heaven is better! To be with Jesus is far better than anything this earth can offer you.        1 Thessalonians 4:18

© Bob McEvoy January 2022

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