People seem to be getting more and more spiritual these days, placing heavy emphasis on spirituality yet in a vague sense. In the midst of this spiritual age, many have run overboard in the opposite direction, claiming that there is no such thing as a spiritual world and in the area of life after death, they categorically claim that there is nothing after death; we just cease to exist. As a Christian, I want to present what the Bible, the Word of God, has to say about life after death, specifically, what happens to a Christian upon death. Where do Christians go? Here is God’s answer from the Holy Scriptures:
I. A Christian’s spirit moves on to be with Jesus Christ. While the Apostle Paul was in prison writing his Epistle to the Philippians, he was awaiting his execution and here is what he wrote about the death which was awaiting him:
“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better…” (Philippians 1:20-23)
Paul desired to die and be with Christ more than to remain alive because, when a Christian dies, the result is that he is with Christ and to be with Christ is far better than living life on this earth.
II. A Christian’s spirit goes to receive the crown of righteousness. The Apostle Paul endured the prisons of the Roman Empire very often and each time he was imprisoned it was solely because he continually preached the Gospel and Eternal Life through Jesus Christ. While imprisoned and writing the Epistle to the Philippians, Paul hoped to be set free, but as he wrote the Epistle of II Timothy, to his beloved disciple, he was certain that his execution was inevitable and wrote these words to Timothy:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).
Paul compared the Christian life with an athlete’s participation in a great competition which involves battles and marathons. This is what every Christian life is like, a life full of battles and marathons. Paul finished well and was a winner in the competition of life. A true Christian will follow Paul’s example and look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ. A true Christian lives in the love of God which is poured out in his/her heart through the Holy Spirit and the true Christian gives this love to those around him/her. In heaven, Jesus Christ, Himself, will give the crown of righteousness to the true Christian who finishes life victoriously.
III. A Christian’s earthly body will be made eternal. In the first century, after the church of Corinth was formed, a heresy spread among the Christians which cast doubt upon resurrection from the dead. The Apostle Paul, being very angry with those who taught this heresy, wrote in great detail about the resurrection of the dead:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:50-57)
Through faith in Jesus Christ, a true Christian attains victory over death because during his life he overcomes the cause of death, sin. A true Christian lives a life of holiness and righteousness. This power does not come from the person but from the Lord Jesus Christ who dwells in him, through the Holy Spirit. A Christian’s body may be buried in the ground, but a great day is coming when that body will be resurrected along with the bodies of all the Christians who have passed away throughout history.
” The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:42-44).
The wise Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes,
“A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth; better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:1).
Based on what the Bible teaches, here is what you need to do to attain eternal life after death:
- If you are a child of God, born again through faith in Jesus Christ:
- Be strong, steadfast, and always partake in the work of the Lord, because you know that your hard labor is not in vain.
- Think about the fact that your life is short and do not follow your own desires but those of Christ.
- Preach the Gospel and be a fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ everywhere you go.
- If you are not a believer and have never put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, agreeing to be obedient to the Word of God, then:
- Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart for…” “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
- Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near!
- Search the Scriptures, for through them you may have eternal life, and they testify about the Lord Jesus Christ.