By Irvin Baxter
It’s no surprise to some people that as many as 18 percent of those brought back to life after a heart attack have had near-death experiences. To others, the idea that human consciousness and the body can exist distinctly from each other seems unscientific. However, if there is no existence beyond the grave, then millions of people throughout history, from the Pharaohs of Egypt to Jesus of Nazareth, have been deluded.
An Eternal Destination
Death cannot be avoided by exercise, diet, meditation, pills, surgery, the next genetic discovery, or anything else. Many are uncertain and fearful about their eternal destination. Some speculate that because they haven’t murdered anyone or robbed banks, they are already good enough for heaven. Their own hearts are deceiving them. According to the Bible, the human heart is the most deceitful thing there is (Jeremiah 17:9). The sin problem must be dealt with. Romans 3:23 says that the entire human race has sinned and fails to measure up to God’s standards. Everyone has turned away from God and done what they wanted to do (Isaiah 53:6). There isn’t anyone who hasn’t sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Eternal, Glorious Life
There really is life after death, an eternal, glorious life for those who love God (1 Corinthians 2:9). Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, took the punishment we deserved for our sins (Isaiah 53:5). He proved Himself victorious over death by rising from the grave three days later. Thousands of witnesses saw Him after His resurrection, over a period of 40 days. Then He ascended to heaven. According to Romans 4:25, Jesus was, “…delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” [NKJV]
Jesus’ resurrection, a well-documented event, is the supreme proof of life after death. Just as Jesus’ body was raised from death, many live in the hope that their bodies will also be transformed when Jesus returns (1 Corinthians 6:14). However, everyone doesn’t automatically go to heaven. Each of us must make a choice that will determine our eternal destination. The Bible says that we die only once, and after that will come the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). There is an eternal destination in hell for those who reject Jesus as Savior. (Matthew 25:46).
Obeying the Gospel
God doesn’t enjoy it when anyone dies in his sin, but wants them to turn around and start living for Him (Ezekiel 33:11). Life after death is eternal life in heaven with God, for believers. For unbelievers, life after death is eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). How can we receive eternal life after death and avoid an eternity in the lake of fire? Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) [NKJV] We must obey the gospel, which states,
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures….” (1 Corinthians 15:3) [NKJV]
Death, Burial and Resurrection
We are born again when we participate in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We must die to ourselves, repent of our sins, be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ by immersion, and receive the gift of God’s Spirit, the Holy Ghost. Jesus’ blood covers our sins at repentance, and the waters of baptism wash them away, making us clean for the Spirit to come and live in our lives. While we still might have to deal with physical death, we can confront death without dread, knowing that it leads to eternal life in heaven. If you wonder about life after death, or just struggle to face living here on earth, you can have peace and hope by obeying the gospel. Remember, John 3:7 states, “You must be born again.”
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