9.6.3 Imparting salvation to the departed

According to 1 Peter 3: 18-20, those who died in the flood received special love and care from Jesus Christ: after His sacrificial death, He proclaimed the gospel to them in the realm of the dead. The fact that the departed need the proclamation of the gospel in order to "live in the spirit" is also stated in 1 Peter 4: 6: "For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

Jesus Christ is Lord over the dead and the living. His gospel is equally valid for all. It is the desire of God that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2: 4-6; John 3: 16). This means that God's will to save is universal. Salvation is offered through the proclamation of the word, the forgiveness of sins, and the sacraments. All of these are likewise intended for the departed. For them as for the living, belief in Jesus Christ is indispensable for attaining salvation. Redemption occurs solely through Jesus Christ.

The Apostles fulfil the commission of Jesus–namely to proclaim the gospel, to forgive sins, and to administer the sacraments–upon both the living and the dead. They act in Christ's stead and in His name. Just as Jesus Christ brought His sacrifice on earth, salvation is also imparted through the Apostles on earth. Since sacraments always have a visible component, they can also only be performed in the visible realm. The effect of the sacraments as essential elements in imparting salvation is the same for both the living and the dead.

The dispensation of Holy Baptism with water, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion to the departed is effected when the visible act associated with each is performed upon a living person (see 8 and 12.1.13). Here the salvific effect is not for the benefit of the living, but rather exclusively for the departed.

Departed souls who, through Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing, have experienced the rebirth of water and the Spirit are of equal standing with the dead in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4: 16).


Since the sacrifice of Christ, salvation can still be attained even after physical death. (9.6)

New Apostolic Christians intercede in prayer for the departed: they ask the Lord to help the souls who have entered into the beyond in an unredeemed state. (9.6.1)

Together, both the living and the dead in Christ belong to the Lord's work of redemption. Both here and in the beyond, they will intercede with God on behalf of the unredeemed. (9.6.2)

God's will to save is universal. Jesus' commission to proclaim the gospel, forgive sins, and dispense the sacraments is fulfilled by the Apostles of today upon both the living and the dead. (9.6.3)

The effect of the sacraments is the same for both the living and the dead. The dead who have received the rebirth out of water and the Spirit have the same status as the dead in Christ. (9.6.3)

See also