Some say no, because the deceased was never baptized. Some say no, because the deceased lived a less than moral life. Some seethed at the ministers saying that the deceased "prayed a prayer" and therefore was saved. Some feared that because the deceased was never "baptized in the holy ghost" they were not saved.
I say Rest in Peace to all of them. I have no idea of their hearts, although I suspect they are in heaven. Mainly because it's not works that gets us there. No baptism, no good works, no sinner's prayer will save us. The life of Christ is what saves us. Salvation is simply eternal life. Forgiveness doesn't impart life. Life imparts life. When one is faced with their own mortality, things tend to get serious as far as a relationship between the human and their god (God?)
I am thankful that my fate is sealed. My trust is in Jesus Christ, and his finished work on the cross. I've finalized the cross in my own life, as the sermon so emphatically challenged me to do. I've come to the rest that Jesus promised me so many years ago:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30No more do I have to struggle to enter that rest, and no more do I fear that I would have to wait until I, too, departed from this world into the next world. No, Jesus gives us the rest the minute we place our trust and faith in Him, and him alone. Nothing that we nor anyone in our church has done on our behalf, will save us. Jesus alone is our salvation.
Looking around at this world, today, I can't help but to envy those loved ones that have recently passed on. They'll never have to hear another news story about the senseless killings by humanity. Whether it's from the Al-Quaeda and the terrorism; the government's allowing of it, or simply a senseless killing of a drive by, my loved ones have finally turned their back on it once and for all. Lucky them. Right now, they're not concerned with the price of gas going out of sight to the point that we can't afford to go anywhere. Right now, they're not concerned about our government allowing enslavement of the country through debt.
Oh.... I know, I know.. this is supposed to be an encouraging blog. There is encouragement, however. All through the ages, governments have put their nations in turmoil in some form or fashion. From the days of Alexander the Great, from King David, to George Washington himself, to now, somewhere, someone has always struggled.
The good news? In spite of national slavery, God is still on His throne. In spite of senseless killings, God is still in the saving business. Whether we die from illness, violence, or simply from old age, the result is the same. We leave these earth suits behind, and go to meet Jesus glory. Won't that be great? Won't it be great to see with sight, what for so long has been faith?
Hold near, your redemption draws nigh. My relatives are lucky. But I'm not worried. Soon, I too, will join them in leaving this world behind. Sure hope to see you there!