Rest In Peace?

Rest in Peace. We know what these words mean. They mean that someone is no longer living, and we want them to be at peace after all the struggle of this world.

There’s only one problem with that: it’s not true.

Some people say that death is the end; that you simply cease to exist when you die. But I disagree.

Why do I disagree? Because I believe that the Bible is true. And according to the Bible, there are two groups of people: saved and unsaved. If you are trusting in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin, then you are saved. If you are not, then you are unsaved.

For saved people it works like this: They are born, they live on earth, they die, and then they spend the rest of eternity in the presence of God in peace and joy.

For unsaved people it works like this: They are born, they live on earth, they die, and then they instantly enter a place of torment where they will stay until the Judgment at the end of the world at which point they will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer forever.

You see, saved people are at peace, and they could be described as resting (when compared with the troubles of this world), but they aren’t asleep. Unsaved people are neither resting nor at peace.

Is this harsh? Yes. Sometimes the truth hurts, but we tell the truth. Why? Because it is what is best for the person that we love. And I love you. Whoever you are reading this, I love you. But not as much as God loves you. He provided a substitute for you. Someone who stood in your place so you would not have to go to that place of forever agony. And when you think about it, isn’t it just the craziest thing you’ve ever heard that there’s a way out of this problem, but some people don’t take the way out? MOST people won’t, according to Jesus Christ Himself.

This all hit me as I read messages people were posting about Robin Williams, messages of sadness, and hope that he will “rest in peace.” They even said “At least his suffering is over now.” But according to the Bible, if he did not trust in Christ while he was alive, then he’s suffering more right now than he ever did on earth. He thought he was ending his pain, but he only hastened the most unimaginable torment ever. That saddens me.

And all I can think about is this: how much time do we waste on stuff that isn’t important? And what is more important than knowing where you will spend forever? For those who have already died, their choice is set, but you, if you are reading this: there’s still time for you.

Don’t waste it.


About Steve Picray

I am a conservative Baptist Pastor in the midwestern United States. Every day I commit my life to Jesus Christ. This blog is my view on life. My prayer is that, by reading what I write, you will learn more about me, more about God, and be assisted in becoming the person God means for you to be. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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5 Responses to Rest In Peace?

  1. John says:

    Stuff like this is why I stopped going to church.

    • Steve Picray says:

      Do you disagree with something I said?

      • John says:

        Not with the intent or facts, but rather with the whole thing where someone dies and the response is “Well golly, they might be burning in hell!” My grandfather’s funeral consisted largely of a preacher who didn’t know a thing about him delivering a sermon on how much hell sucks, and how we should come to his church and give him money to not end up there (I’m paraphrasing, of course). Really, the whole point is to comfort the living, which is not accomplished by threatening them with hellfire, or implying that someone they cared about is now in worse torment than what they left. So on the one hand, I do agree with what you said. On the other hand, I’m still a littler bitter about my experience with the standard responses to death from representatives of organized religion. A less callous and off putting response might be exactly what your wrote, except without all the parts about eternal torment. So a post that talks about the promise of heaven, and what “rest in peace” should mean to someone who is saved. Then maybe a kind thought towards the deceased, a prayer that they found that salvation and the peace that comes with it.

        If someone didn’t find salvation in their life, that’s between them and God. If they’re still alive, keep doing what you can to show them the way, but once they’re dead they’re in God’s hands. So the people you’re addressing are the ones who are left, who possibly just lost someone they cared about, and possibly don’t believe in an afterlife. Then you come in with the hard sell, “uncle fred’s burning in hell right now, but you don’t have to!” It’s off-putting, to me at least. And as someone who is saved, it’s even more off-putting. I appreciate the intent behind it, but I’ve got enough negative associations with this to react poorly to it.

        • Steve Picray says:

          First of all, let me say that I would never, ever tell a grieving person that their recently departed loved one was suffering in hell. We are supposed not just to speak the truth, but to speak the truth in LOVE. My general principle is that if I think, based on what I know about the deceased, that they were saved, then I talk about where they are (in heaven). If I think, based on what I know about the deceased that they were unsaved, then I don’t talk about where the deceased is. I talk about the choice that every person must make.

          Why do I mention this? Why did I post this article? Wouldn’t it be easier for me to live my life as a believer and not warn unsaved people about the horrible existence they have to look forward to? Yes, that would be easier, but that’s not what Christ told me to do. He said I would be a witness. He talked more about Hell than He ever did about Heaven. He said I’m supposed to love my neighbor, not ignore the danger they are in.

          If you see someone headed for mortal danger, the loving thing to do is to warn them about the danger they are in. It’s not an act of love to just stand by and watch as someone destroys themselves. I can’t make choices for other people, but I can inform them about the choice that they have. And that’s all I can do.

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