“Rest in peace”, the preacher said, as he closed his bible. What did he mean?
“R.I.P.” the plastic Halloween tombstone reads. What does it mean?
“Rest in peace”, says the atheist, agnostic, and the person who doesn’t know what they are.
What are they really saying?
Does the person who adamantly opposes even the very thought of a Heaven or Hell realize what they’re saying when they whisper, “Rest in peace”?
Is the high school principle praying in the teacher’s lounge when she says to a teacher, “may so and so rest in peace“?
What do you think?
Is the grave a place to rest? Is the grave the final resting place? Is there more to look forward to after the final shovel full of dirt is dropped on your cold, stiff body? Or, is there something to fear?
Is there really such a thing as “resting in peace”?
No. Unless “R.I.P.” refers only to a gravesite left undisturbed, forever and ever.
It is possible for a lifeless body to “rest in peace”. That, however, is not the case with the other parts of a person.
Since mankind is a three-part being, spirit, soul, and body, “rest in peace” can only refer to the lifeless body. Man is a spirit being, he has a soul (the deepest feelings, thoughts, desires, emotions, etc.), and he lives in a body. The body is temporal, the spirit, eternal. Once the body quits, the spirit and soul do not rest; they actually become more active than ever before. They are on the move. On the move to a specific destination, unseen by few this side of eternity.
The person who has placed their trust in Jesus is immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord upon leaving their body. “To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord”, Paul said. And when a person is in the presence of Jesus they find themselves busy with the activities of Heaven. Worship, praise, prayer, work, and preparation for the final invasion of earth by the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The person who has NOT placed their trust in Jesus is immediately escorted into the bowels of the earth, to the place where the damned are incarcerated; awaiting their final judgment as they stand before the Great White Throne. The one seated on the throne is the one who will simply pass the eternal sentence upon the person who rejected his offer of eternal life through his son, Jesus.
It will be no picnic, waiting the final word from the Judge, before being hurled into the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels. A place of total, unimaginable darkness. A place where all the desires and cravings of the heart and mind are amplified, yet never fulfilled. Chaos, fear, torment; just a few of the things Hell is known for. The Lord has said, “there is no rest for the wicked.”
No one will be surprised when that time comes; when they either rise or sink. Oh, they may not want to think about it right now, but once the filter of their body is removed, they will “know as they are known”. No longer will they be looking through a dark, veiled glass. With eyes wide open they will witness firsthand the consequences of their earthly decision. To some it will be glorious. To others, it will simply be too late.
So as for “Resting in peace”, it would be a nice, I suppose. But not practical.
The believer, the one who’s been given new life in Jesus, would not want to be separated any longer from Jesus. The unbeliever? They will try and stay completely away from him. Also, an unregenerate spirit would threaten the peace of all Heaven if they were allowed to run loose. The devil was kicked out for rebellion, and those who still have his nature won’t fare any better. Count on it. The devil’s fate is the fate of all those “whose names were not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
The Lord is not willing that anyone perish, but that all come to repentance – which ultimately leads to life. He has no pleasure when the wicked die. He truly loves each and every one so much, that while each of us, every single one of us was in rebellion to God, Jesus died for us.
Do YOU want to rest? Jesus invites us all to come to him and find rest. Do you want peace? Jesus is our peace with God and our door to the peace of God.
But you’d better make your plans ahead of time. “Resting in peace” just won’t happen.