“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” —Psalms 116:15
Death in itself cannot be precious; it is terrible. It cannot be a precious thing to God to see the noblest works of his hand torn in pieces, his skillful embroidery in the human body rent, defiled, and given over to decay. Death in itself cannot be a theme for rejoicing with God. But death in the case of believers is another matter. To them, it is not death to die; it is a departure out of this world unto the Father, a being unclothed that we may be clothed upon, a falling asleep, an entrance into the Kingdom. To the saint death is by no means such a thing as happeneth unto the unregenerate….
But, when God says that the death of a believer is precious to him, it is clear that no tinge of annihilation is in the idea, for where would be the preciousness of a believer ceasing to exist? Oh, no, the thought is gone from us. We know that to die is not to renounce existence; we understand that death is but a passage into a higher and a nobler existence. The soul emancipated from all sinfulness passes the Jordan, and is presented without fault before the throne of God. No purgatorial fires are needed to cleanse her; the self-same day she leaves the body she is with Christ in paradise, because fit to be there. The body in death, it is true, undergoes decay, but even for that meaner part of our manhood there is no destruction. Let us not malign the grave, it is no more a prison, but an inn, a halting place upon the road to resurrection. As Esther bathed herself in spices that she might be fit for the embraces of the king, so is the body purged from its corruption that it may rise immortal.
—Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, February 18, 1872 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 18 Sermon No. 1036, “Precious Deaths”