What Happens When We Die?

By Reeves

As a young child I really didn’t really mind much about the “here after” or life after death question. I wasn’t concerned about this subject. Now that I become a Christian this motivate me to think about this matter all the time. My fiancé asked this question long time ago, “What happens when people dies?” Do we become unconcious while dead?” and “What happens of the souls of those who have denied Christ as their Lord and Savior?”

These questions are important and we should not neglect to ponder these questions. As an ambassadors of Christ, we ought to address questions and be able to answer (such as indicated above) to those who are seeking for the right answer.

Since I’m a Christian (protestant) I’ll only answer this question in a Christian perspective and since the only real answer to this questions can only be found in Jesus Christ’s our only redeemer.

So, “What happens when we finally die?” Once a believer in Christ dies, though his flesh or physical body remains buried, at the moment of death his spirit (or soul) undoubtedly goes right away to heaven in the presence of his Creator God.

For information, death is a temporary cessation of bodily life and a separation of the soul/spirit from the body. This means that once we ceased to live our spirits separates apart from our bodies.

Paul says, “We would rather be away from the body, and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8) Jesus told the thief who was crucified and dying next to Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

This statement contradicts the teaching of Roman Catholicism on purgatory. Jesus said, “Today” (present tense). The dogmatic doctrine on purgatory is lethal, and dangerous. Purgatory is also unbiblical. In short, to be away from the body is to be at home with our Lord.

The Bible does not allow the teachings of reincarnation (see. Is reincarnation Biblical? ). What about the doctrine of “soul sleep?” This doctrine goes, “That when a person die they immediately go into a state of unconscious existence. But this is utterly false. It is clear that the spirit of the believers go immediately into God’s presence and enjoys fellowship with Him there (read vv. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Luke 23:43; Heb. 12:23).

In addition to our present discussion let’s say (for the sake of arguments) that the doctrine of “soul sleep” is true. Jesus would have said, “Today you will no longer have consciousness none whatsoever!”

But “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) There really ain’t no need to place some abstract interpretation here. Jesus was very clear and precise and no nonsense (purgatory, reincarnation, soul sleep) should be added. “What happens to the souls of unbelievers?”

Contrary to the teachings of reincarnations and purgatory that people who rejected in this life Christ’s atoning death on the cross will never have a second chance to reconfess their sins. The writer of Hebrews emphasized this, “Just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgement.” (Heb. 9:27)

Yet still the Bible nowhere says that the final judgement will depend on our deeds while we were still alive, but certainly on what has occurred in this present life. Someone might protest by stating that “Eternal punishment comes only to those who consciously rejects Christ nad that anyone deserves a second change to accept Christ.”

This idea is not supported by the Scripture; we are all sinners by nature and by birth. We actually do not deserve any of God’sgrace nor do we deserve to even hear the good news of Christ.

We are already condemned not only because of a willful rejection of Christ. (John 3:18) Unbelievers bodies will not be raised until the day of The Great White Throne Judgement.

Nevertheless, they will pass into the state of eternal punishment immediately upon death. The bodies of those who rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be raised and reunited with their spirits, as they stand before the great judge of mankind that is God. (see. Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and Rev. 20:5,12).

Is It possible for a Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, yet lose his salvation? Before attempting answering this delicate and important question we have to ask if a person is really saved. Did he have a genuine saving faith or a counterfeit based faith?

Certainly before we can be assured of our salvation and have the certainty for being eternally saved a person must be born again. Jesus Christ was is clear about this and said,

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)

    The above word “born again” simply means turning away from his sinful life. A born again person must live a new life, new thinking, and new aim or purposes in life and trust his salvation only in Christ.

    The Bible clearly warns against spiritual pride. Christians risks the possibility to fall into corruption of sinning or even leave his faith and become apostate (2 Peter 2:20).

    Why does this happen to a Christian in a first place? Can the cause of falling-away-from-faith from these professing Christian accepted the decision for following Christ superficially?

    There are various reasons why those who profess their faith does not have eternal security such as follows:

1. Professes the Christian faith but does not repent (Luke. 3:7-14; Acts 26:2).

2. Having religious zeal apart from the gospel (Romans 10:1-4).

3. Knowing not, saving faith always produces works (Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 11:4,7)

    Or perhaps this believer (who lost his salvation) failed to understand that as a Christian we need to live a disciplined and holy life (Lev. 19:2) so that at the end of our “race” he would not be disqualified or even eliminated from the competition, and win the Crown of Life (1 Cor. 9:24-27)?

    Henceforth, false Christians can never lose their salvation because they never had it in the first place! Genuine Christians on the other hand if they lived consistent biblically based, Christ-like life can rest assured that they are indeed on their way to heaven and are eternally secured. 

    I am totally in disagreement with my fellow brethren who argues from the negative side that true believers in Jesus Christ can lose their salvation.

Once Secured, Always Secured!

    I would argue against the false notion that a Christian who have an intimate with Christ Jesus is in risk losing his eternal security.

    First of, it is a contradiction in term to say that saved can be unsaved. Remember a born again Christian has been saved from the following:

a. Saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 5:9)

b. Saved from condemnation (v. 8:1)

c. Saved from eternal punishment in hell (Jude 23)

    Indeed, Jesus told us that, “He that  believeth on the Son hath (right at this very moment!) everlasting life” (John 3:36).

Born again believer have everlasting life with God in heaven not “probably” or even “maybe” but today!

    Our source of life which is none other but Jesus Christ give us the positive certainty,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28). [emphasis mine]

    How wonderful and encouraging to read this profound word from our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that we are assured in him he also will hold on us!

    There is no possible way that a Christian will lose, (who depends and believes in God) his salvation. Jesus says,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

    This is very simple, the person who hear and believe in Him shall not come into judgment. What a promise indeed! But what if a believer who had everlasting life with God lose his salvation? The Jesus Christ would not be true to his word. Yet it is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2).

    Again Jesus tells us,

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)

    All we have to do is to believe in him who is “the resurrection and life” only then we have eternal life. Paul the Apostle responded to the jailer and said,

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)

    It is hard for me to reconcile between the genuine believer who is saved will ever be unsaved. On the top of this, it is important to remember that security is based on the grace of God and the fact that eternal life is a gift. 

     Of course, this is ONLY true for “born again” Christian.

Re-checking Christians Attitude Towards God

    If you are a Christian and is saved by the grace of God then, you don’t have any reason doubting your eternal security.

    However, if you as a believer still doubts your salvation, then it is only advisable to re-check our personal relationship and attitude towards our Savior. If we really want and willing with whole our mind and soul to get right in-tune with God we must check the following:

1. Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?

2. Is there evidence of a renewing work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?

3. Do I see a long-term relationship of growth in my Christian life?

Again, remember if you are already a believer then be certain and be assured of your eternal security. Make sure we’re not one of whom Jesus rebuked,

“Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven…I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21,23).

By Reeves

suicideGood question! Although this question misunderstands the entire concept of the Christian faith it must nevertheless be properly responded. Assuming for a moment that the questioner is a skeptic therefore the very nature of this inquiry doubts the reality of heaven and the truthfulness of Christianity.

For instance, “If heaven exist,” the skeptics ask, “why don’t you Christians commit suicide, after all isn’t heaven a better place?” and “But heaven is not real therefore you do not commit suicide.” There are lots of ways to approach this question though I decided to only chose a few. Let us analyze this question more closely.

1. If heaven exists as Christians believe,

2. They should commit suicide (since heaven is a better place).

3. But no Christian commits suicide,

4. Therefore, heaven must not exist.

Premise 1 is true that Christians indeed believe that heaven exists but premises 2, 3, and 4 are false, and should not be taken as a valid conclusion. Premise 3 is false because there are Christians, sad enough, who commits suicide, though I believe that it has more to do with brain chemical imbalance, but not for the sake of getting to heaven pronto. There are those who died, indeed for the Christian faith (martyrs) but not by solely taking one’s own life.

Breath of Life

But what about the other premise such as 2 and 4? Are these valid? I do not think so for a moment. First of all, God intended for us to live as he has given us “the breath of life,” not the breath of death. God created human beings to live and “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

The command to “be fruitful, and replenish” implies having great responsibility, thus committing suicide will make Christians notoriously irresponsible!

Sanctity of Life

Second, God commanded us to fully respect the sanctity of life, and He even forbade murder (Ex. 19:13). So if one commits suicide by which taking his or her own life is tantamount to 1st degree murder! Besides murder, suicide is also selfish, cowardice, and irresponsible.

Death Is Not Heaven

Thirdly, Death is not a synonym for heaven. Likewise, death does not equal heaven as if these two concepts were the same. These two words have totally different meaning and different concepts. In fact, to even think, therefore that death = heaven is oxymoron or contradiction in terms. Death means losing life, heaven in the other spectrum means gaining life!

Furthermore, one does not have to die in order for a Christian to be and or experience heaven i.e. prophet Elijah (2 King 2:11) did not went through death but went to God. The Apostle John “saw” heaven several occasions before his natural death.

Death as Curse

Fourth, death wasn’t suppose to coexist with the living. Death “entered” when Adam and Eve rebelled and sinned against their God. Dying has become a curse and part of our existence. However, just because death has become part of life, it simply doesn’t mean intertwined with life. As a matter of fact Jesus would have not said to be “the resurrection and life,” if death and life were one. Thus there is a great gulf between life and death.

Jesus Values Life

Life is better than death, and no doubt Jesus Christ apparently valued life over death. This is illustrated in Jesus’ life by, for instance, raising his friend Lazarus (John 11:44), others, and himself from the dead. So, if dying means a ticket to heaven, Jesus and Lazarus would have remained in their graves. Thus, choosing death over life just to be in heaven will devalue life and would be in grave opposition to Jesus who is life himself.

Not All Are Going To Heaven

Finally, not all are going to heaven (according to the Bible). Those who are going to be with God are those who are born again and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So, if you are to die today without Christ in your life, your are going to be condemned to eternal punishment which is hell. If you are living Christless then I beseech you to reconsider your life in Christ and ask for forgiveness.

Conclusion

The key word in this subject is life. God created and breath “the breath of life” not death. God gives us life and responsibility. Choosing death over life means irresponsibility. Death is not to be identified with heaven because this two has different meaning and significance. We also learned that death means losing life, while heaven means gaining eternal life. Jesus preferred life over death by raising others including himself to life. One does not have to die in order for him or her to get to heaven. Finally, Only those who are in Christ are going to heaven. And those without Christ and are living in sin are going to be in hell for eternity.