Spiritual Autopsy

Attending an autopsy was one of the least favorite tasks I performed as a detective. As a result, I was less than enthusiastic watching the coroner cut into the naked cadaver laying on the table-tray before us. Consequently, I relived days of my youth in science class dissecting a frog and a pig. But it is vastly different when it’s a human being.

Yet, the purpose of the autopsy is to determine the cause of death. As such, the organs are removed, weighed, and measured for analysis. The skin is peeled from the scalp and the cranium is opened. Injuries are examined to determine lethality. The body is contorted in ways that made me cringe. The care and precision used by a surgeon in the emergency room is absent in the morgue because the “patient” is dead. I am thankful there are medical examiners called to this profession, but I declare the morose nature of their work has no appeal to me.

James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”[1]  Without diving into all the supporting Scripture, yes, our salvation is secured by faith in Christ Jesus alone. Yet James continued, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”[2]

The principle is simple; without root there is no fruit. If there is no fruit, the root is dead. We should all take a personal inventory, because one day there will be a spiritual autopsy—a day of judgment. Simply believing that God exists is insufficient. “Even the demons believe—and shudder,” [3] declared James. He used Abraham as an example of authentic faith. “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works.”[4]

According to Scripture, we all have a spirit that will dwell eternally in God’s presence or not, depending upon what we do with the claims of Jesus. James completed chapter two in dramatic fashion: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”[5]

We should not point fingers at so and so claiming, “He’s been bitter for decades, there is no way he has genuine faith.” Friends, we need to account for ourselves. Is there evidence of faith in our life? If we had a spiritual autopsy, is “death” present or evidence of God working in and through our daily life qualifying us for a new, unblemished body in God’s eternal presence when our earthly “tent,” as Apostle Paul put it, is taken down?

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

Editor’s Note: This article is simply my personal perspective. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Law Enforcement Today. As a 30-year cop, I feel compelled to connect professional experiences with biblical instruction since every person needs to reach a conclusion regarding life after death. That was one of several  motivating factors when writing two books; The Spirit behind Badge 145 and Justice Revealed. Moreover, I welcome your visit to my ministry website for LEOs is badge145.com


[1] James 2:14

[2] James 2:17

[3] James 2:19b

[4] James 2:22

[5] James 2:26

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