30 November 2003
Luke 23:43, Philippians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 & Romans 8:23
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
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 Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ when they die?
A. When believers die, their souls are made perfectly holy and immediately pass into glory. Their bodies, which are still united to Christ, rest in the grave until the resurrection.
1. When believers die what benefits are received?
The believer receives a benefit in regard to his soul and in regard to his body.
2. What benefit is received of the believer in regard to his soul?
Hebrews 12:23 teaches that the soul is made perfect in holiness and immediately passes into glory.
3. How is the believer benefited with respect to his body?
The body of the believer in the grave will still be united to Christ in a mystical union (1 Cor. 6:15). At the resurrection the body of the believer will be united with his soul.
4. What is this “resurrection” spoken of in the prior question?
This resurrection is the last and general resurrection of all the dead in the last day (1 Thess. 4:16).
5. What is the lot of the souls and bodies of the unbelievers?
The bodies of the unbelievers are shut up in the prison of the grave (Daniel 12:2) and their souls suffer the anguish and torment of hell.
6. Will the believer be raised with the same body at the last day?
Yes, the dead in Christ shall be raised with the same body (Job 19:26). There will be a difference in quality, not in substance and essence. (Philippians 3:20-21).
7. How can a believer be assured of these blessings when death is nigh?
A believer can be assured of them because the promises of God are sure and true, promises made even before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). There need be no doubt on the part of the believer for “What the Bible says, God says, and that ends the matter!”