R.I.P. (Part 5)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30 ESV).

The fourth principle is that at the moment of death believers will be made perfect and cleansed from all sin. Our reading points to the truth that believers are taken to heaven immediately at death. Heaven is fully pure and free from all tarnish and sin, and therefore when God takes us to heaven He makes us fit for the experience of it by making our hearts perfect in holiness. This merely accords with His purpose to make us completely like Christ (v. 29) and, at the return of Christ, to present us to Himself without spot or wrinkle or sin (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:27).

Now, before you simply dismiss this as a stretch in bringing you peace and comfort during your grief, simply think of the struggle we all have with our own personal sins. It is not fashionable to talk about besetting sin in today’s church culture. In our effort to be grace givers we have forgotten how to be truth tellers. However, the truth is that not one of us is immune from the struggle; young and old, male and female, we struggle with those old sins. We repent with deep remorse, and return to the sin all too quickly. That struggle simply will not exist in heaven. We will be set free from this old nature that so quickly fails.

Today we cry with David, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). Then we will simply be consumed with the purity of Christ that overcomes every temptation. Like the fresh fallen snow covering every part of the landscape with white, we shall be covered by his complete purity and strength. That truth brings a new depth to the victory of those who have already made the journey to their final home. This is no small victory. This is no passing success. This is an eternal position unlike anything anyone has know since Adam and Eve first sinned plunging creation and mankind into sin and death. When I think of that as the position of the loved one I grieve, I am better able to endure the temporary separation. It brings me great peace.