Updated: Jun 19, 2020
We live in a day and age where it is thought that life is better for every one after death. It is not unusual to see friends declare their condolences to their deceased friends by writing the ever popular R.I.P. which of course means Rest-In-Peace. But the big question is ‘Are they resting in peace?’
What happens when someone dies? Can we know with certainty? Do we just have to bite the dust and then see what happens? Or, are there clear answers available to us about death?
Thankfully, we do have solid answers about life after death. We must endeavor to make sure that everything will be well with us when we die......
So, how can we be certain about what happens when we die?
There is only one person who can speak to this question and His name is Jesus. Jesus created everything in this world, so He definitely knows the answer to the life after death questions. In Colossians 1:16, the Word of God boldly declares:
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Jesus created every single thing and that includes HELL. You might be wondering why? Why would Jesus create such a horrid place? Well the Word of God answers that question. Let’s look at what it says:
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mathew 25:41)
I hope you read that properly. Hell was prepared for the DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS. The Lord did not have people in mind for hell, he had the devil and his angels (agents of wickedness) in mind.
The heart of God towards people is declared:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God loves people and his only aim since the fall of man into sin has been to bring man out of death, eternal death. But, the ONLY way out of an eternal death is by believing in the Son of God - who is Jesus.
Jesus made this very clear. Look at what He said:
“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Only through Jesus can one come to God the Father. When we reject Jesus we can never come into relationship with the Heavenly Father. Let me give you one more verse to show you that Jesus is the only way out of eternal death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Eternal life is a gift to us from God and it is only found in our Lord Jesus Christ. So, back to the topic of what happens when we die. When someone who has received Jesus as their Lord and saviour dies look at what happens:
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
The believer who dies is in a safe, peaceful and wonderful place. He is with the Lord in heaven. That’s great news for the believer in Christ!!! But, what happens when the wicked person dies? First, let’s define who the wicked person is.
In the Bible, the ‘wicked’ refers to one who is guilty of hostility before God. He is an enemy of God. But how do we know if we are hostile towards God? Let’s look at the answer to this question in God’s Word:
“You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
One who is hostile toward the Lord is a friend of the world. To be a friend of the world is to love the ways of the world. The Bible tells us:
“For everything in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16).
To be a friend of the world means to love the ‘lifestyle’ of the world which is one that is in absolute contradiction to God’s ways. A worldly person therefore is one who lives contrary to God’s Word. It is this worldly person who is defined by God’s Word as a wicked person.
The wicked person is not just the pedophile, the rapist or the murderer. The wicked person is the one who has rejected God’s Word and this rejection manifests itself in a life lived that is in absolute contradiction to God’s Word. The only hope for the wicked person is faith in Jesus Christ.
So, when the wicked person (as defined by God’s Word) dies, is he in a place of peace as his friends think when they post R.I.P. on his/her wall?
Again let’s look at what the scripture says:
“There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked" (Isaiah 48:22).
The Lord has clearly spoken and he says that the wicked, the person who dies outside of faith in Christ, is NOT in a peaceful place. He/she is actually in a place of unimaginable torment. (I will go into more of this in my next blog when we will look at what hell is like).
The Lord doesn’t want anyone to go to that horrid place of torment called hell. In no way, does it please the Lord to cast someone into hell. Again, look at what the Scripture declares:
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
This is the desire of the Lord - that the wicked would turn from their wicked ways and live!
If you’re not yet a believer, please consider carefully the value of your eternal soul and turn to the Lord. If that is your desire, you can turn right now and experience eternal life. I would love to help you. I can help you say the words, but you have to mean it in your heart. Please pray this prayer if you’re desirous of committing your life to Jesus:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of eternal life that is only found in Jesus. I thank you for loving me and protecting my soul from an eternal death. Today, Lord, I confess that I am a sinner in need of your forgiveness. I turn away from my sins, from my worldly ways and I put my trust in Jesus, the only person who can save me. Forgive me, Lord, for all my sins, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me an insatiable desire for your Word. Thank you Lord for the gift of eternal life. All these things I pray in Jesus name Amen.
If you prayed this prayer and mean it, God bless you and welcome into the kingdom of God. Go to a Bible teaching church and let someone godly there know of your newfound faith in Jesus. It is now time for you to grow up in your faith and you will surely learn how to as you faithfully attend a Bible teaching church and apply God’s Word in your life.