Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 37

Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 37

Devotional on Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 37

Q&A 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.”

Reflection

Death, often feared and shrouded in sorrow, holds a significantly different meaning for the believer in Christ. According to the Westminster Larger Catechism, death is not an end but a passage into a perfected state of holiness and the immediate presence of God’s glory. This profound truth reshapes how believers view death and offers comfort and hope in times of loss.

Made Perfect in Holiness

At death, the souls of believers are made perfect in holiness. This completion of sanctification is a divine act where all traces of sin are removed, and the soul is wholly conformed to the image of Christ. Hebrews 12:23 speaks of “the spirits of the righteous made perfect,” indicating this transformative moment. This perfection is what every Christian longs for throughout their life—the complete and final freedom from sin.

Immediate Passage into Glory

Upon death, believers do not enter a state of soul sleep or limbo; rather, they immediately pass into glory. This is the eternal communion with God, where faith gives way to sight, and God’s presence is experienced in its fullness. Jesus Himself assures this when He tells the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Such an assurance underscores the immediacy and the blessedness of the believer’s state after death.

Rest in the Grave

While the soul experiences glory, the body rests in the grave. This rest is not an abandonment but a continuation of union with Christ. The bodies of believers are said to “sleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:14), awaiting the resurrection when they will be raised imperishable and reunited with their glorified souls. This union in death signifies that nothing, not even death, can sever the believer’s relationship with Christ.

Application

Comfort in Grief: In times of bereavement, let this truth comfort you and others that for believers, death is a passage to perfect holiness and immediate glory with Christ.

Live with Hope: Let the reality of your future glorification inform and transform how you live today. Live in the light of eternity, prioritizing spiritual growth and heavenly values over fleeting earthly concerns.

Share the Hope: In a world fearful of death, share the hope of the gospel. Explain how the sting of death is removed for those in Christ and replaced with the promise of glory.

    Conclusion

    For the believer, death is but the doorway to eternal joy and the presence of our Lord. While we may naturally fear the unknown aspects of death, we are assured of our final destination—a place of perfect holiness and unending glory. Let us hold fast to this hope as we journey through life, comforting one another with these words, and eagerly awaiting our full redemption at the resurrection. Amen.