My friend is a recent WELS convert from Judaism. She is very concerned about her mother who passed as a Jew. What comfort can I give her regarding judgement day and her loved ones?
The truth of Scripture is that “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Believing” and “not believing” in that passage center around Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Scripture says about Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
If we are convinced that someone has died in unbelief, the only comfort we can give is that which concerns the Christian survivors. We can remind Christians whose lives have been affected by the death of loved ones that Jesus promised: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We can remind Christians mourning the death of family members of God’s promise to them: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). We can remind Christians whose lives have been shaken by the death of loved ones that God is their “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Death is a reminder of the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). One of the petitions in a prayer that was often offered in churches upon the announcement of a member’s death was this: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Whenever a death takes place, there is a call for the survivors to use their time of grace wisely (2 Corinthians 6:2). True wisdom is knowing Jesus Christ in faith as Lord and Savior (Psalm 111:10; Colossians 2:3).
God bless the conversations you have with your friend, as you direct her to the truths and promises of God’s word.