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It is an idiomatic expression wishing eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. Those words appear several times in the Requiem Mass and form part of the Roman Catholic burial liturgy, this being the reason that so often it has been found inscribed upon Roman Catholic gravestones. Simply a prayer for the dead. The Abrahamic scriptures are quite clear in stating that physical death is not the end, there is an afterlife; there exist Heaven and Hell. This is because they believe based on their scripture that eternal bliss is for the believers and eternal-damnation for the non-believers.

Islam is not a progressive religion, rather a conservative one. The Sunni legal orthodoxy is of the view that one is not allowed to pray for the unbelievers, as they will reside in the fire of hell and their actions in this world are void. This is because such actions were neither intended to seek the pleasure of God, nor for the hereafter. They will not be deprived of their due.

The dominant opinion in Christianity appears to be that a Christian should not pray for a non-Christian person after their death. Similarly, the dominant opinion in Sunni legal orthodoxy is that a Muslim should not pray for a non-Muslim person after their death. I cringe at the arrogant, insensitive, and dismissive comments made by some Muslims upon hearing of the death of a non-Muslim. Cambridge University Press. Rest in Peace. Should Christians use the phrase Rest in Peace, April Jewish Burial and Mourning Practice for non-Jewish relatives , And Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti.

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– Why do we say rip when someone dies


Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash. I have great admiration for non-Christians who have contributed to the improvement of society through their inventions, production, leadership, literature, and art. My wife and I were recently reflecting on the remarkable ways in which Steve Jobs’s labors helped change the world in which we live. I love so many of the beautiful works of art and music that have been the product of secular artists; and I do not, for one second, believe that we should sequester ourselves from the use and enjoyment of the contributions of self-avowed unbelievers in the world around us.

Otherwise, as the apostle Paul wrote, “you would need to go out of the world” 1 Cor. There is a common grace principle at work in the world by which God allows men to benefit their neighbors, making life in this fallen world a little less painful than it would otherwise be. That being said, I’ve noticed something of a concerning trend over the past several years. It is the way in which believers speak about culture-impacting individuals at their deaths. At the risk of sounding ill-tempered, I wish to set out several reasons why I am troubled by this occurrence.

First, when we employ the abbreviation R. We are not speaking of something indifferent to the truth of the hereafter. Someone might push back at this point, suggesting that R. However, while certain words and phrases can be fluid in their meaning e. If we care about the eternal salvation of people, and whether or not they are trusting in Christ alone for eternal life, then we should painstakingly avoid giving the sense that we believe in any form of universalism whatsoever.

Second, as Christians we should revolt at the idea of “praying for the dead,” since there is not a single ounce of biblical support for such an idea. By saying “rest in peace,” we necessarily run the risk of giving the impression that we are saying a prayer for the deceased—whether for self-professed unbelievers or self-professed believers.

This alone ought to give us pause as to whether we should seek to abandon using the expression. Third, the Scriptures teach very clearly the costly nature of both rest and peace.

The biblical narrative is one of the redemptive rest that God has promised to provide through the life, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and return of Christ Matt. The eschatological rest that Jesus has purchased for believers comes at the costly price of his blood 1 Cor. Additionally, the Scriptures are clear that there is “no peace for the wicked” Isa. The Lord warned, through the prophets, of the false prophets’ message of “Peace, Peace!

The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that God has purchased peace only “through the blood of the cross” Col. The rest and peace for which we should long—both for ourselves and for those around us—is grounded on the nature of the person and atoning death of Jesus.

If men have spent their lives rejecting the gospel and have not professed faith in Jesus, we should not be offering them posthumous well-wishes. It puts the nature of the exclusivity of Jesus and the gospel in jeopardy, even if that is not our intention. This does not mean that believers are to be hasty or uncharitable in the way in which we speak of the death of those who most likely died in unbelief, or that we are to speak in such a way as to indicate that we know with certainty where someone has gone when they have died.

Surely, we have comfort and joy when someone who has professed faith in Christ—and in whose life there was fruit that they are in Christ Matt. It is the great comfort of believers to know that their fellow believers are now “resting in peace,” as they “rest in Jesus” 1 Thess.

The Old Testament speaks of believers as being “gathered to their people” at their death Gen. This is reserved only for believers. It is set in contrast with how the Scriptures speak of unbelievers at their deaths. However, when asked about those who never professed faith in Christ—someone who has spent the better part of his or her life adhering to some particular false religion—we should remember that none of us knows what God the Holy Spirit has done in the hearts of men and women moments prior to their death.

None of us knows whether the regenerating grace of God has come at the final moment; and, therefore, we should only now be seeking to warn the living of the wrath to come in order to hold out the hope of redeeming grace in Christ. In a day when the biblical doctrine of hell has virtually disappeared from pulpits across the land, and the social conventions of the time demand more seemingly congenial speech than the Scriptures exemplify and require, we should give great personal examination to what we are saying and why we are saying what we are saying.

We should weigh the implications of our speech, both in verbal and written form, remembering that the same Jesus who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Did Hell Go Away? What Is the Difference between the Law and the Gospel? Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning Beautiful Christian Life LLC may get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through its links, at no cost to you.

Christians should not pray for the dead. The Bible clearly teaches the costly nature of both rest and peace. We should weigh the implications of our speech, both in verbal and written form. Oct 2, Sep 22, Sep 12, Facebook 0 Twitter Pinterest 0 0 Likes.


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