Sorrow, Joy, and the Intermediate State

Since we live in a fallen world, death is a reality that even Christians have to come to grips with.  Though Jesus has redeemed us, the enemy of death has still not yet been defeated but we can have confidence that the end of death is near (1 Cor. 15:26, 54-55).  Even though our death is not a condemnation of our sin, it is true that death completes our sanctification and completes our union with Christ.  Our death and the death of other Christians should give us both sorrow and joy.  It is normal to be saddened by the loss of a brother in Christ (Acts 8:2, Phil. 2:27) but we can also find Joy that they are with Christ, a joy that we don’t experience with the loss of unbelieving friends and family see Rom. 9:1-3.

After death, the believer departs from his body and his spirit goes to be with the Lord in heaven (2 Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23) yet this is not the state that we are going to remain in as we were never meant to be spiritual beings but rather physical.  Though much of the American Church has learned its theology from movies and Greek tradition and therefore believes that we will be spiritual beings for eternity, the Bible says that we will be physical beings in the age to come.   When Christ returns, all the dead in Christ will be physically raised and will be given resurrection bodies that will be like Jesus’ physical body.  Our Soul will be reunited with our renewed, resurrected bodies.  The existence of soul sleep, purgatory, and annihilation all contradict what the Bible says about death and resurrection.  Unbelievers after death go to a place of judgment until their body is also raised when Jesus returns and they will stand before God in judgment (See Matt. 25:41, 46).

Even though we know that believers are in heaven right now, and unbelievers are being punished, we should not pray to them (including Mary) thinking that we can change their situation or that they can change ours.  Praying to those who are dead is condemned in the scriptures (Lev. 19:31) and those who consulted the dead were stoned to death in the Old Covenant (Lev. 20:27) and they should most definitely be corrected in the New Covenant Christian church.  We seek the Lord and him alone because those who have perished have no power or ability to control what takes place on earth, only God does.