Death is so universal that we don’t need a lawyer to present the case for its inevitability. Yet In spite of its evident reality there exist uncertainties and misconceptions in the mind of millions about what happens when they die. Through this article, I aim to present persuasive reasoning for life beyond death as well as some of its associated facets.
Even though death is an undeniable and unavoidable reality we are often disinclined to giving any thought as to what happens after we die. Maybe the cares and occupations of this life distract us into thinking the moment of our death yet lies far in the future. Maybe the thought of death makes us afraid. Whatever the reason, death will most certainly knock on our door one day.
Is death the end of life? Irrespective of your beliefs, this question must be regarded as fundamental and the answer to this question as vitally important.
That which makes life worth living is the surety of a future beyond death.
There are corollary questions which naturally arise. If the grave is the place where we are put to eternal rest what is the purpose of enduring sufferings in this life? What distinguishes our life or gives it purpose if we are going to end just like a snake or a rat? What is the significance of our choices if the philanthropist and the psychopath surrender to the same death? What is the meaning of hope itself if death is not conquered?
That which makes life worth living is the surety of a future beyond death. In the following sections, we will explore some aspects of what happens beyond death and how it should affect our present life.
If all our hope for life ends in a coffin then we are in a pitiable state. Unless our life will be restored from death then it is vain. Note, however, that what I mean by restoration is not simply a form of reincarnation but rather coming back to life as our own self. Reincarnation as a philosophy does not stand to the claim of truth as it cannot account for the billions of lives simultaneously in existence. Further, no scientific advancements will ever have the capability to regenerate dead men.
How joyful we should be in knowing that our name is written in the Book of Life which is the roll call for eternal life!
Death, both physical and spiritual, entered the earth and affected every human soul when we lost companionship with God who created us for His own purpose. God, who is not just a powerful being but a loving one, had a wonderful yet painful plan to redeem lost mankind. That plan decreed that the immortal God would take the form of man and pay the price for redemption through His own death. Christ, the anointed one, not only died but rose victoriously from death on the third day. His resurrection is the greatest evidence that there is going to be a resurrection of the dead. One could argue that the writings of His disciples after His resurrection were merely to propagate religion. However, unlike any religious personalities, the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Christ were fulfilled exactly according to a multitude of Scriptural references revealed hundreds of years before those events. Numerous specific verses in the Bible accurately foretelling those events exemplify the truth it portrays as well as making it unparalleled and trustworthy among any documented revelations. In addition, the eyewitness accounts corroborate these events evident throughout the gospels and other first-century Christian writings (1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 16-19). The resurrection of the dead is going to be the greatest and most meaningful moment in the near future.
Eternity is built into the human soul. More importantly, there is eternal life and eternal death, both of which are determined by the choices we make in this life. Those who believe in the Son of God will have eternal life and those who choose to deny him are going to be eternally separated from the presence of God. Is God cruel to condemn sinners? Of course not. God is so loving that He does not want any of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9). That’s why He has provided a way to offer eternal life to all humanity, each of whom would otherwise be destined for condemnation. If we receive Jesus Christ into our heart we will have life and eternal life. The names of those who believe in Him are written in the Book of Life. This is the greatest blessing and privilege we can obtain. How joyful we should be in knowing that our name is written in the Book of Life which is the roll call for eternal life! There will be no more tears, sorrow, pain, crying, and death in eternal life.
However, those who reject the light of the knowledge of God will be eternally separated from God in a perpetually inescapable and barren state of pain, sorrow, and crying (Revelation 21:1-8, John 3:16-17). The righteousness of God demands this just judgment for those who deny the Creator and Savior despite the means to life and truth that He has provided to all mankind. Very often we hear people complaining that God lets evil penetrate this world. Sometimes we hear people say that God is unfair to let evil go unpunished. If you maintain that thought you need to realize that the true and righteous God is not going to let any evil go unpunished. He cannot claim to be just unless He deals with sin and transgression. Let this thought enable you to lead a hate-free life recognizing God is the ultimate judge. Beyond death, there is a judgment by the God who weighs the heart. How are you going to spend your eternity; in perpetual joy or unending misery?
Our life choices are often based on the rewards and benefits seen to result from those decisions. This is a conspicuous part of our human nature and one that advertisers take advantage of by using terms like discount, sale, rebate etc. Unfortunately, most of us haven’t directed this same innate desire for reward into those life choices with implications beyond death. I have often wondered why we are more preoccupied with this life and the momentary rewards of this world. One reason for that is a pathetic neglect of these teachings among Protestants. Simply put, rewards in eternal life are going to be based on merit in this life.
We ought not to be insolent nor filled with hatred toward evildoers as judgment and eternal death are awaiting the unrepentant soul.
An Australian man, Graham Staines, was moved by this thought. He devoted his life to serving among leprous patients in the tribal region of the state of Orissa in India. In 1999, he along with his two sons Philip aged ten and Timothy aged six were burned alive by fanatical opponents to Christianity. The perpetrators hardly knew they were adding to the crowns for the Staines.
What rewards do you have in your account for eternal life? In our devotion for proclaiming faith as the way to eternal life, have we neglected the ‘works’ part which is the means to reward? Are you going to have eternal life with empty hands? This is your opportunity to do good and receive rewards from the glorious Creator himself (Mat 16:27). Even as each individual’s faith will save him, so too it is according to the labor of each one that which will determine his reward. We will not inherit any reward in eternity for what our parents or children do.
- Implications for current life
We have reviewed the evidence for life beyond death as well as the various facets of it such as resurrection from the dead, eternal life and rewards. The implications as to how we should live our present lives on earth are abundantly clear from these beyond-death realities. First, it gives meaning to life since we know we are not destined to end our existence as food for worms. Resurrection from death gives purpose and value to our life. Additionally and importantly, resurrection brings hope to this present life. In the words of Paul the Apostle, without the hope of resurrection through Christ, every life is in vain and most pitiable. We have further noted that we should not grow weary of doing good because eternal rewards are promised. At times we need to be reminded that we are sojourners in this world waiting for an eternal inheritance. We ought not to be insolent nor filled with hatred toward evildoers as judgment and eternal death are awaiting the unrepentant soul. Faith in Jesus and the good things done in His name assure us of resurrection, rewards, and eternal life.
Death is real. Beyond death is the eternity. Rewards are waiting. Are you ready?
Dijo John – Renew in Knowledge Core Team Member