The past few months have seen the deaths of several celebrities. First there was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. Then long-time football coach Joe Paterno passed away just a few weeks ago. Singer Whitney Houston entered eternity just this past Saturday. After each of these people died I noticed Facebook posts (some by Christians) paying respects and using the well known R.I.P. In truth, unless a person knows Jesus as their Saviour, there is no resting in peace. The Bible is very clear that a person who dies without having put their faith in the blood of Jesus Christ as the only payment for their sin will have to spend eternity in Hell. I make no judgements about any of these three well known people. I am merely mentioning them as an example of the usage of R.I.P. If we really desire to pay respects to people then we as Christians should do all we can to lead lost people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Only then will they be able to truly rest in peace.
As a side note, I realize that in our society we pay much more attention to the lives and deaths of people with some notoriety. The fact of the matter is that you can open almost any newspaper in any city in the United States and read of the passing of people, from your community, into eternity. How many of them did you witness to? You and I may never have the opportunity to meet somebody famous, but we do have the opportunity, and even the responsibility, to meet our neighbours and the people we interact with on a daily basis so that we might share with them the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Before you put R.I.P. on any note of paying respect, ask yourself what you have done to help guide that person, or any person, to being saved. Rest In Peace, indeed.