For many, this is an irritating and scary topic of discussion. Many will refrain from this type of dialogue due to fearing this unknown phenomena of NOT knowing what takes place after our physical death. This is human nature to naturally fear dying and it is a difficult subject to engage in, especially if you are NOT a born-again believer in Christ and are NOT on good terms with the true living God. The bible tells us that we should not fear death if we are in Christ Jesus as a true born-again believer. The prophet Isaiah predicts of the Lord cheating death forever and providing us with true salvation as eternal life through Jesus as we read in Isaiah 25:8-9, “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people, He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ ” When we were born on this earth, we were all born spiritually dead – Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:1-2. Because of this original sin in the garden of Eden, the human race was corrupted forever, waiting for a Redeemer to make us whole. Therefore, God had to intervene for us through the offering of His only Son Jesus. We are truly saved when we receive God’s free gift of eternal life (salvation) by His grace upon believing by faith that Jesus is the Son of God and that He paid the price in His death for our sins and was resurrected to be in heaven with God the Father. When we believe, confess, and trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become spiritually alive in Christ. God’s word tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven and to God the Father – Isaiah 53:4-12, John 3:15-21, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Philippians 2:12-13. Do NOT be deceived for there is NO other way or path to God and His kingdom! When we become born-again believers, nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death, as stated in Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Deciding to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior by being born-again is the most vital choice you will ever make in this life! For you decide in this life where you will end up in eternity! God gives us a choice of freewill to choose. No one can make this decision for us. Everything of this world will pass away but those who are saved in Christ will live forever – John 5:24-30, John 11:25-26. As you are saved by faith through Jesus, you are baptized with His Holy Spirit through faith. When you are saved, your life is transformed where you are a new creation in Jesus. Your old sinful self has died with Christ and your new life in the Spirit has resurrected with Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, Ephesians 4:22-24. Therefore, when you’re saved you already experienced this same death that Christ experienced on the cross and have died in the flesh to walk in the Spirit – John 1:11-13, John 3:5-6, Romans 1:16-17, Ephesians 1:13-14, Titus 2:11-14. This is when God gives you a new living Spirit of power, love, and discipline or of sound mind. He does not give us a Spirit of fear – 2 Timothy 1:7. The spirit of fear is from the enemy to keep us in bondage. Since you have already died in the flesh and been resurrected in the Spirit with the baptism through water (born naturally or symbolic death in the flesh) and baptized of the Holy Spirit (resurrected in the Spirit), you no longer need to fear death as Paul stated in Romans 6:4-11, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When we have eternal life in Christ Jesus, we live forever as we walk in the Spirit and have no need to fear death. To walk in the Spirit means to resist the things of the flesh as we read in Galatians 5:16-17, “ I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
We must humble ourselves before God and take up His cross by denying ourselves to be a true follower of Jesus – Matthew 16:24-27, Mark 8:34-38. We must live out our lives daily as examples of salt and light with Christ living in us and through us by keeping His commandments and being doers of His word – Matthew 5:13-16, James 1:22-25. As an act of spiritual worship, we are to present our bodies holy and acceptable to God, as a living sacrifice by carrying out the will of the Lord by rejecting the things of this evil world – Romans 12:1-2. We are NOT to be slaves to sin as Paul tells us in Romans 6:12-14, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” For the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23. Also, Jesus tells us not to fear men or the enemy of this world but to only fear God as explained in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” As we are God’s creation, we were created for Him and to serve only Him through Christ. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s as stated in Romans 14:7-9, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” Paul tells us that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead in the flesh) we live with Christ Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 5:10. Paul explained that to die is gain since we will be in the presence of the Lord as we read in Philippians 1:20-21, “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He continued with this similar explanation in 2 Corinthians 5:7-8, “For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” When we actually pass on from this present life, we are promised that we will be resurrected with Christ and will receive new incorruptible bodies of immortality where we will live forever with our Lord and Savior. Through Christ, we will cheat death as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:53-58, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
When we are obedient to God through Jesus, His perfect love for us casts out all fear – 1 John 4:18. When we have overcome the fear of death through Christ Jesus, we no longer fear many things of danger, like getting on an airplane, riding a scary roller coaster, experiencing life fearing situations, threat of deadly illnesses, sicknesses, diseases, major disasters, wild beasts, persecutions for Christ, etc. When we no longer fear death and other things, we can boldly take a stance for Christ by living a Christian life in this sinful world. This walk for Jesus does not come without sacrifice, sufferings, trials, and tribulations. Jesus tells us that when we experience trials to be of good cheer since He has overcome the world as stated in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” This walk in Christ will be very difficult. For it is a spiritual battle but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us – Philippians 4:13. In this battle, we are met with major resistance from the invisible enemy (Satan) and his army of demonic spirits. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil forces of darkness – Ephesians 6:11-18. Greater is He who lives in us then he (Satan) who is in the world – 1 John 4:4. As Paul experienced major tribulations (2 Corinthians 11:24-33), he counted his trials for Christ as good blessings and to fellowship with Christ within His sufferings as we read in Philippians 3:7-11, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul continues this similar explanation in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Delighting in trials and distress is much easier said than done since many of us have major struggles with life’s hard aches and hardships. When we experience these sufferings, often we feel like God is angry with us and we may end up blaming God for our troubles instead of praising Him. God disciplines His children similar to how our earthly parents disciplined us when we were children as stated in Hebrews 12:5-9, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” The trials that Paul experienced in Christ were for expanding the gospel and increasing God’s kingdom – Philippians 1:12, 2 Corinthians 11:24-33. The cost of discipleship and setbacks we experience for Christ in this present life are temporary and no way compare to the glory we will receive in eternal life with our Lord and Savior – Romans 8:18. Peter also stated that we are blessed and should rejoice when we experience sufferings for Christ’s sake as we read in 1 Peter 4:12-19, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” Many disciples, apostles, and followers of Jesus have experienced persecutions for Christ’s sake and the gospel. Stephen, James, Paul, Peter, and John were all persecuted and martyred for Christ. Stephen was stoned to death by the Pharisees – Acts 7:54-60. James was killed by Herod by being beheaded by the sword – Acts 12:1-2. The bible does not tell us how Paul was martyred but he was beheaded by the Romans according to Roman history – 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Similarly, Peter was martyred by the Romans by being crucified upside down according to Roman history – 2 Peter 1:12-15. John, according Roman history, was boiled in oil and then banished to the island of Patmos – Revelation 1:9.
We must not get wrapped up in the things of this world since these are temporary. We should focus solely on eternal things (treasures in heaven – Matthew 6:19-21) which cannot be destroyed or seen by the naked eye as we read in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” For no eye has seen, nor ear heard, and no heart has known what God has prepared for those that love Him – 1 Corinthians 2:7-9. As believers in Christ, we are His sheep. Jesus told us that His sheep would hear His voice and would follow Him – John 10:27. Jesus also gave us very comforting words that He would go prepare a place for us and would come back for us – John 14:1-3. Jesus promised us He would return for His bride, the Church (His sheep), as He is our bridegroom – Mark 2:19-20, John 13:36, Ephesians 5:26-27, Revelation 21:2. We must seek God and His kingdom first through Christ Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength where God will bless us, keep us, protect us, and never forsake us – Matthew 6:33, Mark 12:30, Hebrews 13:5-6. Continue to stand strong in the faith for many have fallen away from the faith and are being deceived by dark spirits and following after doctrines of demons – 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Remember our true citizenship in is heaven and not of this world – Philippians 3:20. We must remain sober and watchful for our blessed hope and soon return of our Lord Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13.
We can have hope and joy in these comforting words by Paul as stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
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Do you know where you will spend eternity after you die on earth? Will Jesus be your Lord and Savior or your eternal judge – John 3:15-21, Romans 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:1? Jesus says He is the narrow gate to heaven where it is difficult to find and only a few will enter by it where many will enter the easy, wide and broad gate that leads to Hell and destruction – Matthew 7:13-14. Will you experience the second eternal death (spiritual death) – Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 21:8? Do you know for sure that you are written in the eternal Lamb’s Book of Life – Revelation 3:5, Revelation 20:12-15? The place called Hell is NOT a myth and is very real and an extremely scary place – Watch this Video!
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