For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
Paul locates the whole redeemed family in two places. They are either in Heaven or on earth. This is the death blow to the idea of purgatory—a third state between Heaven and Hell. And it is also the perfect answer to soul-sleep theories of every kind. Paul does not say, “The whole family in the grave and on earth.” He declares they are either in Heaven or on earth. This agrees with many other Scriptures. Our loved ones in Christ, when they leave this scene are at once “absent from the body … present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). They depart to be with Christ, as Paul says in Philippians 1. It is only the tired, weary bodies of the saints that sleep until the resurrection morning when the dead will be raised and the living changed.
Our Father’s home on high,
Home to our souls how dear!
E’en now, to faith’s transpiercing eye
Thy golden gates appear.
Our thirsty spirits faint
To reach the home we love,
The bright inheritance of saints—
And though there intervene
Rough seas and stormy skies,
Though by no mortal vision seen,
Thy glory fills our eyes.
There shall all clouds depart,
The wilderness shall cease,
And sweetly shall each gladdened heart
Enjoy eternal peace.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 300.