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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

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.

1. Is the happiness of believers confined to this present life? No: if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, 1 Cor. 15:19. Is the best of their happiness in this life? No: for in the world ye shall have tribulation, John 16:33. Must they die as well as others? Yes: it is appointed unto men once to die, Heb. 9:27. Must the best and most useful die? Yes: the righteous perisheth, and merciful men are taken away, Isa. 57:1. Ought they then to wait for it? Yes: All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come, Job 14:14. And to prepare for it? Yes: Therefore be ye also ready, Matt. 24:44.

2. Is death loss to a good Christian? No: for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, Phil. 1:21. Should it therefore be a terror? No: for the righteous hath hope in his death, Prov 14:32. Does God take special care of the death of his people? Yes: for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints, Ps. 116:15. Is death in the covenant? Yes: All is yours, whether life or death, 1 Cor. 3:22. Can it separate them from the love of God? No: neither death nor life can do that, Rom. 8:38.

3. Are believers perfect in holiness in this life? No: I have not yet attained, neither am already perfect, Phil. 3:12. Are their souls made perfect at death? Yes: the spirits of just men are made perfect, Heb. 12:23. Are they delivered from sin? Yes: he that is dead is freed from sin, Rom. 6:7. Are they made perfect in knowledge? Yes: Then shall I know, even as also I am known, 1 Cor. 13:12. And perfect in holiness? Yes: for they are come to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Eph. 4:13. Might they pass into glory without being made perfect in holiness? No: for corruption cannot inherit incorruption, 1 Cor. 15:50. Being made perfect in holiness, are they confirmed in it? Yes: He that is holy, let him be holy still, Rev. 22:11.

4. Do the souls of believers at death sleep with their bodies? No: for when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5:8. Do they go to Christ? Yes: Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, Phil. 1:23. And will he receive them? Yes: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, Acts 7:59. Shall they be where he is? Yes: That where I am there ye may be also, John 14:3. Will they be with him in heaven? Yes: We have a house not. made with hands, eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. 5:1. Do they pass into this glory at death? Yes: That when ye fail ye may be received into everlasting habitations, Luke 16:9. Do they immediately pass into it? Yes: This day shall thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43. Are they guarded by angels thither? Yes: he was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, Luke 16:22. Are they happy then in their death? Yes: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, Rev. 14:13. Happier than in life? Yes: The day of their death is better than the day of their birth, Eccl. 7: 1. And is their end peace? Yes: Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace, Ps. 37:37.

5. Is death gain to the wicked man? No: for when a wicked man dies, his expectation shall perish, Prov. 11:7. Is it therefore a terror to the wicked? Yes: this night thy soul shall be required of thee, Luke 12:20. Do the souls of the wicked, at death go into torment? Yes: the rich man died, and was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, Luke 16: 22, 23. Do they go away under the guilt of their sins? Yes: If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins, John 8:24. Is it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? Yes: for our God is a consuming fire, Heb. 12:29. Are the souls of believers distinguished from them? Yes: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, Ps. 49:15.

6. Are the bodies of believers well provided for at death? Yes: for the Lord is for the body, 1 Cor. 6:13. May they be cheerfully committed to the grave? Yes; My flesh also shall rest in hope, Ps. 16:9. Do they still remain united to Christ? Yes: for they sleep in Jesus, 1 Thess. 4:14. Do they rest in their graves? Yes: for there the weary be at rest, Job 3:17. Is the grave a good Christian's bed? Yes: He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds, Isa. 57:2. May the saints triumph over the grave then? Yes: O grave where is thy victory? 1 Cor. 15:55. And need they to fear no evil in it? No: for the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, Isa. 11:8. Are all who are regenerate delivered from the second death? Yes: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death shall have no power, Rev.20:6.

7. Shall the dead be raised again? Yes: there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, Acts 24:15. Shall the same body be raised again? Yes: Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, Job 19:26. Shall it be done by the power of Christ? Yes: for as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor. 15:22 Shall there be a vast difference between the godly and the wicked at the resurrection? Yes: for some shall awake to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, Dan 12:2. Has Christ himself assured us of this? Yes: the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation, John 5:28,29. Is it certain when this shall be? Yes: for he hath appointed a day, Acts 17:31. But is it known to us? No: for of that day and hour knoweth no man, Mark 13:32.

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