20 Question 4

For the believer, when we pass away, our bodies, of course, will be prepared for burial or we will be cremated.  At the moment of death, the spirit and soul leaves the body and is immediately in the very presence of the Lord at the very moment of death.  2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  Maybe you are familiar with the story of the repentant thief that hung beside the Lord Jesus while he was on the cross.  Luke 23:42-43 tell us, “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  All those on the cross died that day.  We read of the thieves in John 19:31-32.  That tells us, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.”  So, although this repentant man died that day, his spirit and soul went to be with the Lord Jesus in Paradise.

At death, the body of the believer is separated from the soul and spirit.  Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 which says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”  There are three words in this portion that I’d like for us to consider: clothed, naked, and unclothed.  In the context of this portion, we see that ‘clothed’ means having our glorified bodies in the glory, ‘naked’ refers to a spiritual nakedness, as not being clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ.  In other words, to still be in our sins and strangers to God’s grace.  The third word, ‘unclothed’ refers to that state between death and the return of the Lord Jesus to catch away his church when the soul and spirit is separated from the body.  If you re-read this portion in light of the use of these three words, the meaning becomes very clear.  The state of being unclothed is a temporary state.  In due time, the Lord Jesus will return to catch away His church and at that time our bodies will be changed and the soul and spirit will be re-joined with the body.

I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, which tells us of this remarkable change our bodies will go through when the rapture occurs.  As verse 53 says, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”  Along with that portion, read also 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, which tells us of the soon return of the Lord Jesus.  As verses 16-17 tell us, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  So, when the Lord returns in the air for His church, those who have passed away will return with the Lord.  They will be rejoined with their glorified bodies and then shall forever be in the presence of the Lord.

Sadly, for those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, at the moment of their death their soul and spirit are immediately “…cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” as we read in Matthew 8:12.  They will forever be separated from the Lord Jesus, His love and His mercy.  Dear one, if today you have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, I urge you to bow your knee to Him today.  As we read in Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”  If you would like to know more about being saved, please contact us.  We will do our very best to make sure someone contacts you to help you.  (20.4)