“…we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7)
Death severs the soul not merely from the body, but from everything else that is of this world. For when we die we take with us only the character which we have been fashioning for ourselves. All else is left behind – house and garden, furniture and personal effects, food and clothes, worldly comforts and amusements; and we shall find ourselves in an entirely different world in which the values, to which we have been accustomed here, are turned upside down. What things here are first in the world’s esteem – money, pleasures, position – these are the last. And those that here are last – forgetfulness of self and devotion to God – are first.
Death, by ushering the soul into the eternal and permanent world, brings it for the first time inescapably face to face with reality and so reveals the unreality of this world. All we see around us now is passing away before our own eyes. The moth devours, the rust corrodes, the beautiful foliage of summer rots under our feet: change and decay are on every side. And we and our generation are subject to the same inexorable process. “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls…” (NRSV, 1 Peter 1:24), but God remains ever the same and his years will never end (Hebrews 1:12).