Death is a transition into new life for believers
Have you ever wondered why Christians die? As God’s beloved children, we may wonder why we have to experience death. After all, if Jesus saved us and all our sins are forgiven, shouldn’t we then be able to avoid death—a consequence of sin? What we must understand is that death is not a punishment for believers, because Jesus bore the full penalty for our sins when He died on the cross.
However, God allows our physical bodies to die because first of all we live in a fallen world; when sin entered this world, so did disease, evil, and death. Even though Christians are redeemed from the eternal penalty of sin, we are not exempt from its consequences on earth. As long as we are here, we’ll face many of the same sorrows, heartaches, and losses other people experience.
Secondly, we die because God uses these experiences to complete our sanctification; in the book of Romans chapter 8 verses 29 the Bible says that the Lord has predestined us to be “conformed to the image of His Son”, and He makes use of the suffering and hardships of this world in accomplishing that goal. Through difficult experiences, we grow in spiritual maturity and learn to comfort others. When Jesus calls us home, our sanctification will be complete, and we’ll finally be fully conformed to Christ’s image.
The third reason is that the Lord wants us to live in obedience to Him; his goal is not to remove us from the hardships of life after salvation. During our stay on earth, God draws us into relationship with Him, enlarges our understanding, and strengthens us through testing. When we respond in obedience, He works in and through us to accomplish His purposes. That’s why Paul was so committed to sharing the gospel, and persecution and suffering never stopped him from obeying the Lord.
Death is a serious issue because there is no second chance to change our eternal destinies. This world is full of faulty information about what happens after we die, so we must always compare these ideas with the absolute truth of God’s Word. For instance, Scripture doesn’t say: we stay asleep until Jesus comes, or we are annihilated, or we go to purgatory yet the Bible says that God placed the sins of the entire world on His Son and that He bore the full penalty for them. When we accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we are completely forgiven. There is no penalty left to pay.
According to the Scriptures, this is what will happen after we die. In the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 to 17, there will be a day when Jesus comes in the air to resurrect His people, catching us up to meet Him in the clouds.
Then we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded for our good works and enjoy those honors for all eternity. But the unrighteous—those who haven’t accepted Jesus—will be resurrected later and judged before the Great White Throne as it written in Revelation chapter 20 verses 11 to 15. Rather than gain rewards for a lifetime of obedience and service, they will suffer eternally for refusing Christ’s offer of salvation.
Since our eternal destinies are determined while we live on earth, we all need to prepare now for our final day. Going to church, reading the Bible, and praying are all important, but these alone are not enough. Even our good works amount to nothing if we have not accepted Christ’s payment for our sins. Each person must ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept His offer of salvation. This simple act of faith guarantees that, when we die, we’ll instantly enter into the Lord’s presence where we will rejoice for all eternity. Don’t put off this crucial decision any longer; nothing is more important than your eternal destiny.
The author is a graduate student of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, a Communications Specialist, and a preacher of the Word of God.