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What Happens When You Die?

what happens when you die: a christian persepctive
What happens when you die? He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Jesus in Mark 16:16

Death is something we all face from the beginning of life to the end. It is a shadow cast over us with sobering effect. The Bible says death is the “wages of sin.” In other words, everyone sins and that sin brings the death of our bodies. It is unknown, and fearful, especially to those who do not know Jesus and are “without hope in the world.”

Another scripture says: it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

Here we have a universal truth, that after death comes a time of reckoning when we have to give an account of our lives and pay the price for our sins. Some who have been injured or wronged may look forward to this time when all injustice will be dealt with. Others dread the day when their sins will be revealed and justice executed.

Gospel Story on Death and What Follows

Jesus tells a short but pointed story about this, a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. – Luke 16:22-26

As sinners, we all deserve to wind up with the rich man to pay for our sins, and this would be our fate had God not sent His Son Jesus into the world so that “whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.”

What a comfort that is. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid for our sins so that not only do we escape the punishment of Hell, but we enter into ever-lasting life. How glorious!

How the Gospel Helped Me prepare to die

My first encounter with death was when I was 7 and my grandfather died. He was a believer and was looking forward to “going home” after a serious illness. 4 years later I lost an infant niece only 10 months old and suffering from spinal bifida to whom death came as a friend. Our family mourned the loss of these loved ones but were comforted by our faith and assurance that Jesus had taken them to the place He had prepared for them.

When I was 18, a high school classmate was killed running his motorcycle into a brick wall while drunk. This was a different kind of experience. There was “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.” No one dared ask where he would go; some because they didn’t believe in anything, others because they had a good idea it was not heaven.

More encounters piled up over the years, with the same kind of split, sorrow but hope for Believers and despair and bitterness for those who were not. What made the difference?

Jesus, who said “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11:25
This verse is on my father’s tombstone and has been of great comfort to me. But how would I react when I came face-to-face with death myself?

Face to Face with Cancer and How the Gospel Rescued Me

I found out when I was threatened by throat cancer at age 65. I turned to the story of Hezekiah who became mortally ill and was told by Isaiah,

“Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.” Isaiah 38:1

Fear gripped my heart, although I knew I would go to be with Jesus, I was not ready to go yet. There was so much to do; my family was still young, and our children were still in school.

I began setting my house in order, writing a will, and organizing my work and belongings. But like King Hezekiah, I cried out to the Lord and begged Him to heal me. My family and friends prayed for me daily: Lord Jesus, fill Ken with Your goodness and health; fill every cell in his body so that there will be no room for disease or evil or anything that is not of You. God answered that prayer nine years ago. One of His immediate answers was this song, which I sang each time I underwent one of 35 radiation treatments:

Yea, tho’ I should walk the valley of death, Yet why should I fear from ill? For Thou art with me, and Thy rod And staff me comfort still.

Facing death and seeing God’s faithfulness has given me a wonderful testimony that I have been able to share with others facing a cancer diagnosis. God used it to bring others closer to Himself and to alert those who are on the road to destruction that the Gospel offers hope. Sadly, many refuse His hope, and for them the outlook is grim:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Matthew 25:41

O reader! Don’t let this be your future. How much better is this:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21

Jesus offers us eternal life, abundant life, free from worry and filled with hope, the blessed hope that we will be with Him forever:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2

The Gospel Calls You to Choose Life over Death

I am hoping I will see you there! It is simple and easy, Jesus is calling you today: Come unto Me and rest! You can rest in the assurance that death holds no terror for you. The Bible says

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. – Psalm 116:15

You are precious to Jesus, and He has chosen you to be His own. Let me know if I can be of any help. A good place to start is my article “DOES BORN AGAIN MEAN SAVED?”

Read more about those saints in SPIRITUAL LIVES

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