Just as death is part of life so judgment is part of death. What is the great hope of the Christian concerning judgment?
All men are born into sin because of the sin nature inherited by Adam at the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Death is a part of life because all have sinned (Romans 3:23; Gal. 6:7). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, New International Version). “We must experience physical death simply because it has become one of the conditions of the human existence. However, it has different significance for the believer and unbeliever” (Erickson, 2015, p. 433) (Romans 2:5-8). Death is nothing to be feared for believers because Jesus forgave our sins and paid the price for our punishment. By God’s grace, those that believe in his Son, will inherit everlasting life (John 3:16-17, John 17:3, Eph. 2:8-9) and not face condemnation (Romans 3:23-26; 5:9; 8:1-2).
The bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27-28, that although all Christians will die, we will receive salvation in full at the Second Coming. This is also a reminder for all to come face to face with the reality of death and to trust God that we will have eternal security (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9). It is not wise to expect to be caught up in the Rapture because we do not know the time that it will come. Besides, that makes us be in denial of death and can even influence us not to live effective lives. Instead, believers must realize their wrongs and the consequences of sin and be grateful that we will not die in our sins and perish in hell. We must accept death and be grateful of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Although Jesus has broken the curse (Gal. 3:13), we are still sinners deserving of death. But the Lord greatly encourages us, comforts, and assures us that ultimately, we will live forever with him (1 Thess. 4; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Phil. 1:20-21). Christians have no need to fear death or think that our transitioned loved ones cease to exist or that we will never see them again. God created us as eternal beings (because we experience eternity in hell or heaven) and believers will always be with him, whether dead or alive. Life after death for the believer brings victory to God and us because it serves the Lord purpose as our Savior. “For I am convinced that neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).
Concerning life immediately after death, Jesus and Paul say that we “fall asleep.” But in John 11:11-14 it appears that “sleep” is a euphemism for “dead.” Believers and unbelievers both die and experience a continuation of life. In Matthew 10:28 (NIV), the bible states “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” I believe that Jesus was talking about the final stage of death when both soul and body experience eternal life in hell. “The final judgment, or day of judgment, refers to a future date on which all of the dead will be raised, souls will be reunited with bodies, and all people and nations will be judged by God” (Henning, 2019). Obviously, those in the first stage of hell (Hades) today don’t have their bodies because they’re in the graves and will resurrect at the Second Coming. Thankfully, believers are blessed because the second death (finality of hell: “Gehenna”) has no power over us (Rev. 20:6).
We have a body, soul, and spirit. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV), says “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” God created man from the ground and to the ground we return at death (body). God blew his spirit into us and it returns at death because the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26) . We were created in God’s image spiritually because his spirit is us is his breath (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; John 4:24) and that spirit goes back to God at death. Fortunately, Jesus told the man of faith on the cross that he will go to paradise with him (Luke 23:43). So, though believers physically die, we still live (soul) because we enter a realm of heaven (paradise) in God’s presence (2 Cor. 5:8, 1-10) until heaven on earth comes after the final judgment. Ultimately, believers will face judgement, but we won’t be condemned. God will judge us according to our life on earth (Rev. 20:12) and we will receive rewards (for doing genuine good Christian deeds) as well as entrance inheritance into his physical kingdom (John 5:25-29; 14:3) to dwell forever and ever. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10, NIV). All in all, Christians are encouraged in the Word to rejoice and be comforted about death because we have a glorious hope that we will resurrect with new bodies just like Christ’s in a new and perfect realm of eternal life.
- YOU KNOW THAT YOU’RE SAVED WHEN YOU ASKED GOD FOR FORGIVENSS, CONFESS JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR, AND NATURALLY PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT AND DEEDS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT AS EVIDENCE OF YOUR INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD. DISOBEDIENCE (SINFUL LIFESTYLE) WILL NOT FORFEIT SALVATION, BUT IT MAY LEAD TO PREMATURE DEATH. WE MAY LIVE 120 YEARS IF WE LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL. IT’S ONLY RIGHT THAT WE OBEY GOD WITH OUR LIVES BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY OF ALL OF THE GLORY.
- WE MUST REPENT AND CHANGE BY RENWING OUR MIND AND BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPRIIT NOT GRATIFYING THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH. WE CANNOT LIVE LIKE UNBELIEVERS OR OUTSIDERS. WE MUST LOVE GOD WITH ALL HEARTS, SOUL, STRENGTH, BODY, AND MIND. OTHERWISE, WE BEAR BAD FRUIT AND SHOW THE TRUE CONDITION OF OUR UNREPENTANT HEART (REV. 21:8).
- LISTEN AND OBEY GOD, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, SEEK HIM DAILY FOR EVERYTHING, PRAISE HIM, THANK HIM, WORSHIP HIM, GO TO A BIBLE TEACHING CHURCH, GIVE, AND ALWAYS REPENT AND BE GRATEFUL. JESUS LOVES YOU!
Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian doctrine (3rd ed.). Hustad, L. A. (Ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Henning, M. (2019). Views on afterlife in the time of Jesus. Retrieved from https://www.bibleodyssey.org/people/related-articles/views-on-the-afterlife-in-the-time-of-jesus