How Funerals Skewed Our View of Death & Resurrection

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Having preached a fair number of funerals there are a few objectives for most preachers preaching a funeral:

1 – Honor the life of the deceased
2 – Comfort the family and friends
3 – Reflect the wishes of the deceased and family

Now, that second one is well intended but often results in the construction and perpetuation of unbiblical theology. With a desire to let everyone know the deceased is okay and with the Lord there is often a big push to make death seem like a friend. It is talked about like a passageway…something that is spiritually neutral.

But death isn’t neutral at all. In the Bible death is the wages of sin (Rom 6:23). Death is an enemy Christ defeats (1 Cor 15:26). Death is tossed into the lake of fire along with the devil and is judged (Rev 20:14). How much of that have you ever been exposed to at a funeral?

Death is ugly. Death leads to decay…the marring of the visage of our loved ones (not pretty, heartbreaking really). Death is not our friend. Death is not just a pathway to be with the Lord. Death is personal…a personal force of evil. Death stands opposed to the plan and people of God.

The flip side of this is resurrection. Once you have a biblical view of death you can have a biblical view and appreciation of resurrection. Resurrection is the undoing of the effects of sin and death. To raise a dead person back to life in the body. It is our final hope – that our bodies will be raised. Resurrection is not our souls rising but our new creation bodies rising…and that is what makes resurrection the sure sign of victory over death (per 1 Cor 15) in that the effects of death are reversed and the resurrected person on the last great day is raised to be like Christ – incorruptible/undecayable.

One Response

  1. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
    “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 
    For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 
    We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 
    Rom 6:10  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.”

    Physical death for me is nothing but a “change of address” The only “fear” I have is the “how.” I have a number of risk factors: About 50,000 miles on the road annually; Early onset Alzheimer’s with Dad and brother; recipient of a 4-bypass…  
    Of course, having friends die in house fires, serious car accidents, lingering illnesses… That does bother me, but again, this is the method rather than the fact of dying…
    Maybe I am naive, but it really does seem that simple to me.
    “For me die, is to be with Christ…”
    What does bother me at funerals, though, is that we have come to proclaim one and all to be heavenbound.

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