Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
Chapter 22, Paragraph 4.
“….but not for the dead,…”
2 Samuel 12:21-23
We can pray for all sorts of people, from all walks of life. We can pray for those who are to come. But there are those that we are not to pray for. Those who have died are not to be the subjects of our prayers.
But why not?
Some falsely offer hope that we can alter the eternal destiny of our loved ones through our prayers. Not sure if someone you loved had true faith in Christ? Praying for them will give them the nudge they need to experience eternal life. Through our efforts, we are able to determine the eternal destinies of those who are dear to us. The lure of such a promise is powerful and very real to those of us who have loved unbelievers who are no longer with us.
However, prayer for the dead has no place in Scripture. It is God alone who determines who is elect; we cannot wedge anyone living or dead into that group, even ourselves. While we are called to share the Gospel while we live, it is clear that after death there is no longer any opportunity to repent and believe. We are to rest in God’s sovereignty and wisdom concerning those who are not His.
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’—“
-2 Corinthians 6:1-2
If we were able to affect where the dead ended up, we would be limiting the sacrifice of Christ. What would be the necessity of repenting and turning to Christ as our sole mediator if there were a possibility of our descendants helping us in the afterlife? Such a view is not Biblical. Christ’s glory is lessened by such a view.
The time to pray for our loved ones, the time to share with them the Gospel, is now.
Questions to Consider
- Are you trusting that God will do what is right concerning your unsaved loved ones?