My husband recently completed a sermon series on the Apostle’s Creed. The last sermon dealt with life after death. I found it very interesting, as it deals with a number of misconceptions people have about this subject, so, with his permission, I am posting it here. This is the first section
We pick up now the final section of the Creed, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
I’ll start by noting that many people, including many in the Church, do not have a biblical view of what happens after death and what the Lord’s return will mean for creation. The first error we consider is the one that says our death frees the soul from the body where it has been imprisoned, if you will. When we look at God’s Word we find that the soul, like the body, is a creation of God and does not exist prior to our earthly birth nor is it to be thought of apart from the body except in one way which we’ll deal with later. Death is not a freeing of the soul, but it is, as Paul writes in 1st Corinthians, the last enemy. The idea of a soul freed from the body comes from Greek philosophy and has no place in the views of people instructed by the Scriptures.
A second error that is very common may surprise you even more. When we die we do not go to heaven. I can almost hear the gears in your heads grinding at that one. No, when we die we enter what is called an “intermediate state.” We will retain our own personal consciousness, you will not stop being you. Scripture doesn’t tell us if we will have some sort of “body” or not, although in Revelation we see the martyred saints and they are clothed, so it’s quite possible we will. In the intermediate state we enjoy the presence of God, but it is only a waiting place, a place where we enjoy God’s grace. It is not purgatory, for there is no such place. Purgatory is a false doctrine because it says that Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient for our forgiveness, a position contrary to Scripture. While we are in God’s presence we will be unaware of what is going on this side of the veil, for our whole attention will be on Him.
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