Psalm 118:1, Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!
Often at funerals, whether we attend one ourselves or watch one on a fictional TV show, the minister will say something like this, “He will live on in the memory of his friends and family.” How depressing it must be to have a religion where there is no hope for life beyond the grave—to have a belief system where you believe in nothing after death but the inevitable fading into the obscurity of history until you’re ultimately forgotten. I will never understand how anyone can believe that for the sake of “logic and reasoning.” (Logic is a poor argument for atheism since the logical necessity of God can be argued ontologically.) It might be “logical” to finite human standards, but it sure is depressing.
There’s a huge difference when we attend a funeral where the deceased was a Christian; their friends and family have the comfort of knowing they are with the Lord, even though they may grieve. Being with the Lord is literally a much better place to be than on this earth. While saddened they are no longer with us, we also rejoice for the salvation they have in Christ. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
This is the passage that needs to be spoken at every Christian funeral—a reminder to the Christian friends and family that this brother/sister in Christ is now with our Lord, and as fellow Christians we get to share in this hope to come as a reality for us as well. This is why we as Christians don’t have to grieve to the same extent as those who don’t know Jesus. Even though we grieve their loss, we also celebrate their life, both past and current (i.e. eternal life). It is even sadder when one dies without knowing Christ, but unlike their unbelieving friends and family, we have the assurance of being brought to Christ when we die.
Death is not the end for us. When you read Scripture, God’s love for us becomes so ostensible that you’d have to be in blind denial to ignore it. Indeed, many are. God’s love endures forever. Because He loves us, and because His love endures forever, we don’t stay dead forever. Because of God’s incalculable love for us, He brings us from death to life in Jesus Christ our Lord. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come to judgement, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Because God loves us, He saves us. His love endures forever, and so when we abide in Him, we abide in His love forever.