Death and the Afterlife

We all have to face it. Others die and we wonder where they are. Is death the end, or is there an afterlife?

Whether we realize it or not, this question plagues our minds. Although atheists may appear carefree, many realize Christians might be right. Christians, also, worry about the fate of those who do not believe. If there is an afterlife, denial will not change anything. 

 

Target Audience

I do not try to prove the existence of God, nor the reliability of the Bible. Those debates are outside the scope of this book. This work is intended for those who trust the Protestant Bible, as decided by church fathers late in the fourth century. 

If you are a convinced atheist, you will find little value in this work. You will also disregard this if you are firmly convinced that some other religion outside Christianity is correct.  

Maybe you would consider Christianity without the doctrine of everlasting torment. If this is a hindrance to accepting Christ, then please read on. I hope you find this analysis useful.

 

Faith in Christ

While Biblical truth is important, being right with God is crucial. Whatever the penalty for turning away, it will not be pleasant. We must choose to follow the Lord.

We have many choices in life; some are trivial while others are critical. The best decision we could ever make is to follow Jesus, the only security in this uncertain world. He loves us and wants us to choose Him. Consider these assurances:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

We should not turn down such wonderful blessings. These assurances are for the present as well as the future. Anyone who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior can have peace of mind in difficult circumstances, as we see in the following verses:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

Although God is loving and merciful, He is also just. We will all stand before Him at our judgment and receive our rewards and punishments as our works deserve (2 Corinthians 5:10). Do not think that death for nonbelievers will be instant. There is plenty of talk about torment, weeping, a burning lake of fire, and other horror. The wrath of God cannot be taken lightly (Hebrews 10:31). We can escape punishment if we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, according to these verses:

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:17-18

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

. . . that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Do you want eternal life? Jesus gives you an invitation:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne." Revelation 3:20-21

It is very simple to ask Jesus into your life. It is the best decision you will ever make. If you have not done it yet, I encourage you to do it right now.

 

Eternal Life Versus Spiritual Death

Those who put their faith in Jesus have eternal life right now (1 John 5:11-13). This leads to immortality. God promised eternal life to us long ago (Titus 1:2), and gives it to all who believe (John 3:15-16). We cannot earn our salvation by works; it is a gift (Romans 6:23). And Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved by grace because of our faith.

Hebrews 11 is the best chapter in the Bible about faith. We do not know who wrote Hebrews; some believe Paul wrote it, while others disagree. The writer talks about the faith of many righteous people in the Old Testament, showing that people were also saved by their faith before Christ.

In contrast, those who do not put their faith in God are spiritually dead. The Bible refers to the unfaithful as dead, even though they are physically alive. Here are some examples:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:1, 5

And you, being dead in your trespasses . . . He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses . . . Colossians 2:13

But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 1 Timothy 5:6

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. 1 Peter 4:6

The above verses show people who were spiritually dead because they were not living a Christian life. Either we have eternal life, or we are spiritually dead. While believers will be in heaven forever, those who remain spiritually dead will die for their sins

Scripture clearly shows that we must know the Lord to have eternal life. When Jesus was praying to the Father, He said, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3) We must pray and study the Bible to know Jesus.

Without the Lordís guidance, we are lost. Many believe they are doing right, yet Jesus says they are practicing lawlessness. They will not enter heaven because He will say, "I never knew you." (Matthew 7:23) What a tragedy.

 

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