Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 23
Q & A 82
Q What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life,1 immediately after death,2 and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.*3
Q & A 83
Q What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of;4 and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love,5 peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, and hope of glory;6 as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.7
Q & A 84
Q Shall all men die?
A Death being threatened as the wages of sin,8 it is appointed unto all men once to die;9 for that all have sinned.*10
Q & A 85
Q Death, being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
A The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it;11 so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love,12 to free them perfectly from sin and misery,13 and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.14
Q & A 86
Q What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness,15 and received into the highest heavens,16 where they behold the face of God in light and glory,17 waiting for the full redemption of their bodies,18 which even in death continue united to Christ,19 and rest in their graves as in their beds,20 till at the last day they be again united to their souls.21 Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.22
Q & A 87
Q What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
A We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust:23 when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ.24 The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body;25 and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonour by him, as an offended judge.26
Q & A 88
Q What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men;27 the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.28
Q & A 89
Q What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand,29 and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences,30 shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them;31 and thereupon shall be cast out from the favourable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.32
Q & A 90
Q What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,33 shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,34 shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,35 and shall be received into heaven,36 where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery;37 filled with inconceivable joys,38 made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,39 but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.40 And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.
*1 2 Corinthians 3:18.
*2 Luke 23:43.
*3 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
*4 Ephesians 2:5-6.
*5 Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22.
*6 Romans 5:1-2; Romans 14:17.
*7 Genesis 4:13; Matthew 27:4; Hebrews 10:27; Romans 2:9; Mark 9:44.
*8 Romans 6:23.
*9 Hebrews 9:27.
*10 Romans 5:12.
*11 1 Corinthians 15:26, 55-57; Hebrews 2:15.
*12 Isaiah 57:1-2; 2 Kings 22:20.
*13 Revelation 14:13; Ephesians 5:27.
*14 Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23.
*15 Hebrews 12:23.
*16 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8; Philippians 1:23; Acts 3:21; Ephesians 4:10.
*17 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12.
*18 Romans 8:23; Psalm 16:9.
*19 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
*20 Isaiah 57:2.
*21 Job 19:26-27.
*22 Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6-7.
*23 Acts 24:15.
*24 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; John 5:28-29.
*25 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 42-44; Philippians 3:21.
*26 John 5:27-29; Matthew 25:33.
*27 2 Peter 2:4, 6-7, 14-15; Matthew 25:46.
*28 Matthew 24:36, 42, 44.
*29 Matthew 25:33.
*30 Romans 2:15-16.
*31 Matthew 25:41-43.
*32 Luke 16:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.
*33 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
*34 Matthew 25:33; Matthew 10:32.
*35 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.
*36 Matthew 25:34, 46.
*37 Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 14:13.
*38 Psalm 16:11.
*39 Hebrews 12:22-23.
*40 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18.