What Happens When We Die?

Philippians 1:23 – I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Bible-believing Christians grieve the loss of someone they love, but with the reassurance of eternal life, resurrection of the dead, and reunion of God’s entire Forever Family. This is grieving God’s heart, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13 (NIV))

Upon death, a believer’s spirit immediately goes to Heaven to be with God. (2 Cor. 5:1–10; Phil. 1:23.) One picture is John’s vision of the souls of the martyrs crying out with a loud voice, “How long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10.) Paul’s confidence that death will be “far better” than fruitful work here on earth also serves to give hope to the believer. (Phil. 1:23.)

Jesus gives us a picture in Luke 16:19–31 of existence after death. Lazarus, the godly beggar, goes to be with Abraham, while the self-indulgent rich man is in a place of torment. His deeds show that he does not love God. (1 John 3:10; 4:8–21.) The rich man, self-absorbed in life and now in death, sees Lazarus only as an instrument of his comfort. His sinning continues in the afterlife. There is neither repentance for his injustice nor the expectation that he can get out of torment now that he is dead.

Jesus, who has come back from death and is thus the expert on what awaits us on the other side, was emphatically clear that a day of judgment is coming when everyone will rise from their graves and stand before Him for eternal sentencing to either worship in His Kingdom or suffer in His Hell. (John 5:21–30.)

At the final judgment, all—even you—will stand before Jesus. Jesus’ followers, whose names are written in the Book of Life, will be with him forever. The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15.)

Who do you know that doesn’t know Jesus that you need to share Jesus with so they can hopefully join you with Him forever at the end of this life?

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