Death is a subject that most of us don’t like to dwell on, but one that every one of us will have to face one day. It’s an inevitable, unavoidable statistic.
100 out of 100 people will die.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard of three people who have passed away from this life and entered into eternity. All three of the announcements of their deaths were filled with hope and rejoicing for them mingled with the grief of temporary separation for those they have left behind on this earth.
When you talk with people about the afterlife, there are many different schools of thought about it. Some people believe that once a person dies, they are just…gone. Their bodies are buried in the ground, ashes sprinkled somewhere and they simply cease to exist. Others believe that when we die, we go straight to Heaven or Hell depending on your faith, good works or completions of requirements. Some believe in reincarnation, purgatory or limbo while others believe that our destiny is only determined once we arrive at the pearly gates.
There are some who ignore the existence of Hell, and choose instead to believe that everyone goes to Heaven…We all have our own reasons for believing the way we do, and the fact is that no one can know for sure until they come to that moment in their lives when they take that final breath.
I believe what the Bible tells me about death and the afterlife, and I would like to convince you to agree with me. I don’t want to try and convince you because I want you to think I’m right, but because I believe that I am and it would be wrong of me not to tell you if i really believe it.
I have been reading the Bible for 25 years now, and I have come to the firm conclusion that it is the only Truth that exists in the world today. Those that read the Bible academically or casually often miss out on the fact that it is a living , breathing book. Unlike any other manuscript, the Bible speaks to each person individually. The words comfort, rebuke and teach us daily what we need. In all the years that I’ve read the Bible, it’s never failed me. God has spoken to me through It more times than I will ever be able to count. And because I know without a doubt that it is true, I choose to believe what it tells me about what happens after death.
I have confidence that the moment I breathe my last breath, I will be transported to Heaven and finally begin real life. Do you have the same assurance as I do? When someone you know passes away, are you able to announce their death as a joyful “home going” where they’re just beginning real life? Or do you wonder where they’ve gone and if you’ll ever see them again?
The Bible tells us that “God has put eternity on our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)… From our very core, we’ve been encoded with a desire to go home. I believe that with all my heart that this world is not my home and that I’m just passing through. I’m living for the life that comes after this life.
Let’s talk about good works getting us into Heaven. Many people choose to believe this, and I can understand why. It just makes sense. If the good that I do outweighs the bad, then I should be considered a “good” person, and “good people” should all go to Heaven, right?
The Bible says, “There is none righteous. No, not one! (Romans 3:10)” I guess the thing that we really have to ask ourselves is this: Who gets to judge our works? Do we get to judge our works by our own standards? Is there a universal standard? Or if God is the one who created us, and if He’s the one that gets to let people in or out of Heaven, do we have to go by His standards?
If so, the Bible clearly tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” All of us have fallen short. ALL. There is none righteous. No, not one! NONE.
If this is true, then what?
Here’s the thing: Unbelief does not negate reality. We can all choose to believe whatever we want, but we need to sincerely search for the truth to be revealed to us. Just because I don’t believe I should pay taxes doesn’t mean I won’t go to jail for tax evasion if I don’t pay up. It can be a really genuine belief, but when it comes to reality, we have to deal with the consequences when we believe the wrong thing. As you all know, it’s entirely possible to be sincerely wrong.
Because of my history with the Bible, I believe it to be true. And I understand that it tells me that I can never have enough good works to get into Heaven. The Bible says tha,t “All your good works are like filthy rags”. (Isaiah 64:6).
When I compare myself to my friends and coworkers, I feel like my good works are pretty good. Definitely good enough to get me into Heaven, at least. But when I compare my good works to Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Mohandas Ghandi and many others like them – all of a sudden, my good works seem measly in comparison.
So who gets to judge? I believe God does – the One whose standards are unaffected by society’s views and personal preferences. The One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
I do not care if I am judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I know of no wrong I have done, but this does not make me right before the Lord. The Lord is the One who judges me. So do not judge before the right time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light things that are now hidden in darkness, and will make known the secret purposes of people’s hearts. (I Corinthians 4: 3-5)
What does the Bible tell me about God? That He’s holy and perfect. There is no sin found in Him and He hates sin absolutely. Sin is defined as anything that we think, say or do that breaks God’s laws. There is no amount of good work that I could do to cancel out my sin (or bad works) and gain access into Heaven. It also tells me that God is love. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus Christ to take my sin upon Himself and die a criminal’s death to pay the price that I would’ve had to pay for myself.
For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that anyone who believes on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
When I made the decision to accept this gift that God freely offered me, I was clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and will one day be able to stand before His throne faultless. Justified. You know what that means? “Just as if I’d” never sinned in my life.
God is good. Not only did he put a longing for eternity in our hearts, but He also gave us the Bible. It’s basically just a long letter that deepens and widens as our relationship with God becomes more intimate. In this Bible, He told us exactly how to become “deserving enough” to go to Heaven. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). The very simplicity of it causes so many to not be able to believe it.
Death is not a period, it’s a comma. The road does not end, it bends a little. And when we get around that corner, we will be able to live in Heaven in the very presence of God. Heaven is where Jesus is, and I for one am looking forward to the day when my faith will be sight.
Friends, I encourage you today to just believe. If you don’t feel like you have enough information, open up a Bible and ask the Lord to speak to you. He will. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it. If you’re not sure that God is real, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will. Look for God. Look for Him like you would look for gold buried in your backyard. Look for Him like a man with his head on fire looks for water. Jeremiah 29:13 says, ” You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is a promise. You WILL find Him if you seek Him with your whole heart, and I’m excited for you to tell me all about It when you finally meet Him.