Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Scots Confession, Chapter XVII

The Immortality of Souls

The chosen departed are in peace, and rest from their labors; not that they sleep and are lost in oblivion as some fanatics hold, for they are delivered from all fear and torment, and all the temptations to which we and all God’s chosen are subject in this life, and because of which we are called the Kirk Militant. On the other hand, the reprobate and unfaithful departed have anguish, torment, and pain which cannot be expressed.  Neither the one nor the other is in such sleep that they feel no joy or torment, as is testified by Christ’s parable in St. Luke XVI, his words to the thief, and the words of the souls crying under the altar, “O Lord, thou that art righteous and just, how long shalt thou not revenge our blood upon those that dwell in the earth?”


  The proof of our faith in this comes only at death, when we pass through that shadow to discover the truth of the life in God that Christ has assured of us.  We are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and due to grace, and grace alone, we have hope beyond death.

  This section brings up all sorts of questions--Do people go to hell?  What kind of life exists after death?  What kind of resurrected bodies do we have?  I don't have specific answers to these questions.  I do believe that hell is real and that people go there of their own desire to exist without God.  I do not believe there are streets paved with literal gold; I believe the glory of God makes gold look pale and cheap in comparison.  I believe life without God is miserable, and that all of our attempts to fill it up with idols is vain and empty.  But I don't know most of the answers to life after death.

  What I do know is that the Lord is righteous and just, and that through the grace of God that righteousness is imputed upon us.  Through the mercy of Christ on the cross, I have the promise of eternal life with God.  I don't know what this will look like.  I don't know what it will feel like.  I don't know what I will look like.  But I have faith that I will bow low before the throne of God, and for all of eternity will cry out, "Worthy is the Lamb!"

No comments: