Precious in the Sight of the Lord (Psalm 116:15)

There is no sadder sight than to see a Memorial Service held for those whose salvation is in question. The lamenting, hopeless mourning, empty ritualism, and even bitterness is difficult to watch.

On the flip side, to see a Memorial Service held for those that were saved by grace through faith is a joyous occasion. There is mourning with hope, sadness with joy, and even testimony to the glory of God for the life of the saved person.

I have seen all sides of this, even recently. The funeral of the saved is much better. This verse promotes one reason why.

“Who is a saint?” we might ask. Some groups classify saints as an elite few that are chosen by their leadership, signs, and wonders. However, the Bible classifies saints as all those that trust in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ to pay their sin debt (I Cor 15:1-4; Eph 2:8-9; Rom 10:9-11).

When Paul wrote to the saints (Rom 1:7; I Cor 1:2; etc.) of various local churches, did he write only to a select class of people in those churches? Were the commands of the epistles only given to them? I think not. When Paul spoke of the Spirit making intercession for the saints, was this promise to everyone, or a select group (Rom 8:27)? When he spoke of collection and distribution to the poor saints: what about that (Rom 12:13; 15:26)? Or, how about his trip to minister to the saints at Jerusalem: was Paul only going to minister to a select few (Rom 15:25)? No.

Doing a word study on the term, it means to be holy (hagios). Understanding the teaching of salvation, we know that all believers are made to be saints: a holy priesthood unto God, through the Lord Jesus Christ (I Pet 2:5). This is the only way that we are made to be righteous in God’s sight. Our works do nothing to save us: it is all through faith in Christ.

So, we understand that the death of all believers is precious in the sight of the Lord (not just the death of a select group).

Why are these deaths precious? Because of their inheritance in eternity. The spiritual Christian understand the promises of God about the death of the believer. They are sleeping in Jesus (I Thess 4; I Cor 15). They will be bodily resurrected, at the Rapture (I Thess 4). They have a place prepared for them by Christ with Him (John 14). They are present with the Lord (II Cor 5:8). They also await a position in the Kingdom and reward at the Judgment Seat (Matt 20; I Cor 3; Rom 14). These are only a few things that we know about. We can only imagine that much more is waiting for the saints of God in Heaven & then the Kingdom!

Finally, another child is safely home! Is it no wonder that the death of God’s saints is precious in His eyes!

So, what about those of us that mourn? It is natural to miss those that we love, and equally natural to mourn their passing. Israel mourned the passings of Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Saul, David, and others. Jesus mourned the passing of John the Baptist. The key to mourning is that we do not allow it to become bitterness and despair. Many believers do not work through their mourning properly: remembering the promises of God in Scripture, surrendering such thing to God in prayer, and allowing their church family to console them. We ought to mourn, but mourn with joy at the promises of God! We ought to be sad, but be glad that our loved ones are but sleeping in Jesus, and we will see them again one day. We ought to remember the testimony of these precious individuals, and allow their godly lives to build our faith in Jesus Christ!

If we mourn with despair, mourn those that die in their sin that we will never see again. Mourn that they chose to bear God’s judgment upon them, instead of accepting His forgiveness. These are those that we ought to mourn, and should be a great challenge to the saint to preach the Gospel faithfully, when given the opportunity, with hope that the unsaved will trust Christ, as is our Commission (Matt 28:19-20).