When the Righteous Perish and the Merciful

are Taken Away                                                 Isaiah 57:1-2


            All who have even the slightest understanding of spiritual things recognize that unregenerate, unbelieving men understand nothing concerning the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). And the unbeliever can never understand the believer. God’s saints are as much a mystery to the world as God himself is (1 John 3:1). Never is this fact more evident than at that time when God’s elect are taken out of this world.


            When the unbeliever dies, he dies under the wrath of God, because of the wrath of God, to suffer the wrath of God forever. Trying to find comfort and peace in the good he has done, his conscience is tormenting. Trying to convince himself that he is good enough to meet God, his soul is, understandably, terrified. His family and friends are distraught, because they have no more hope for him than he has for himself.


            When the believer leaves this world, his body dies, but he enters into life. He leaves this world of woe in peace. Denouncing all personal merit, acknowledging that his most righteous works are filthy rags before God, no more worthy of God’s approval than his most vile imaginations, confessing that he is (in himself) no more worthy of God’s approval than the very devil himself, the believer leaves the earth in peace and hope, -- leaning upon Christ, trusting Christ alone as his Savior, -- trusting Christ alone for acceptance with God. His family and friends, rather than behaving as hysterical pagans, weep with peace and hope, because they understand the heavenly words, -- “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” Do you ask, “How can that be?” Those who die in the Lord are eternally and indescribably blessed and happy, because…


1.      They have not died! – God’s elect never die (John 11:25-26). Yes, these bodies, these tabernacles of clay must be dissolved. But these bodies are just the pup tents in which we dwell for a short time. While these bodies sleep in their bed, awaiting the resurrection, we will walk with Christ in glory in the perfection of uprightness.

2.      They rest from their labor! – That does not mean that the saints in heaven are floating around on clouds, strumming harps. We will continue to serve God our Savior forever. Our labor is not with work, but with sin. Soon, we shall enter that phase of spiritual life which Christ has purchased for us, in which there shall be no more curse, no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more crying, because there shall be no more sin!

3.      They are taken away from the evil to come! – So long as we live in this world, we experience evil because of sin. Once we leave here, we leave all evil behind forever! Yes, it is true, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord!