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Falling Asleep in Faith

June 28, 2020
By Martin Luther

[Jacob] drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

GENESIS 49:33

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Falling Asleep in Faith

This is a form of speech which belongs entirely to the saints and the godly . . . for it testifies that ever since the beginning of the world the saints fell asleep in faith and in the hope of the resurrection. . . . But just as in the Church we are said to be gathered to our people through Baptism, through the Gospel and the Sacraments, and we know that we are among our people, so when we die in the promise of Christ made to Abraham, we are transferred by the angels into the bosom of Abraham, or to our people. . . . Therefore let us give glory to God, and let us bestow this honor on Him, that we conclude that His wisdom is boundless and that He has many more wonderful ways to preserve us than we are able to comprehend with our senses. He preserves us in one way in our mother's womb, in another way in the cradle, in another way in sleep, and in another way in sickness. It is sufficient for us to know that the saints in the Old Testament who died in faith in the Christ who was to come and that the godly in the New Testament who died in faith in the Christ who has been revealed are gathered to their people. . . . Therefore the death of the saints is honorable and, as is stated in Psalm 116:15, "precious in the sight of the Lord."

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