W R Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Life after death (for the believer in Christ) will be the greatest adventure ever experienced; it will entail wonders beyond man's greatest grandeur on earth. Yet, man with his built in desire to cling to life often fears what is termed as venturing into the unknown.
The Apostle Paul wrote about life after death for the believer in Christ: As we have borne the image of the earthly we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (trumpet): for the trumpet shall sound and we shall be changed. So then this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this moral shalt have 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 grave, where is your victory (1 Corinthians 15:49-55).
It was noted that this is not the last trumpet of Revelation 11:15 (The Great Tribulation Period) but the trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (The Rapture of the Church) which refers to the term "dead" as those who have already died in Christ, and the term "we" as the believers who are still living at the time of the Rapture; for no believer shall be left behind!
It was noted that life is identified as the vital principle, breath of life, which God imparted to man, making him a living soul. But the primary concern of the Scriptures is spiritual or eternal life for man. It is the gift of God, mediated through faith in Jesus Christ with an importation of a new nature which will find its perfection and full reality of blessedness with God in the life to come (life after death).
Those words give credence to the words of the Apostle Paul in what awaits the believer in Christ; a life after death event. His closing words, concerning the Rapture (catching away) of the Church: Wherefore comfort, one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18), to bring solace in the face of death.
Life after death; beyond the grave, is assured of many times in God's Word. Scripture reveals: For we know that if our earthly (physical body) of this tabernacle were dissolved (destroyed), we have a building of God, a house not made with hands; eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1).
It was noted that our earthly house is thus termed because it is from the earth; is supported by earthly things; has its present abode on the earth, and will return to it, which denotes the short continuation of our mortal bodies. Having a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens refers to a glorified body; as opposed to a mortal, earthly frame in its present condition; with a home eternal in the heavens, already build and prepared, awaiting the believer in Christ!
The gateway towards a wondrous life after death, for eternity, comes through God's extended mercy and grace through His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture reveals: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16-18).
He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and He that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides (remains) on him (John 3:36).
The prophet Ezekiel, in proclaiming the words of the Lord, said: All souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). It was noted that by Creation souls are accountable to God, and will be judged by Him. The soul that sins, it shall die; is the soul that continues in sin, without repentance towards God, and will endure His wrath in all eternity.
The Lord will exercise no patience toward him, or defer punishment to a future generation, the offspring, but shall immediately execute it upon he that sins, who fails to seek repentance. Life after death can be a glorious event towards eternity with the Lord (to the believer in Christ); or a confinement in Hell through eternity (to the unbeliever).
The Psalmist David spoke of staring death face-to-face: The sorrows of death compassed (surrounded) me, and the pains (distress) of hell got hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech you, deliver my soul (Psalm 116:3-4). It was noted that the sorrows of death compassed (surrounded) me was when King Saul and his men surrounded David on every side, threatening to cut him off in a moment.
David despaired of life, the sentence of death, and saw no way to escape, expressing that the pains of hell had got hold of him, without a view of pardon. Then David called upon the name of the Lord in prayer for deliverance; from the sorrows and pains, from the afflictions and distresses, from death and the grave, and from wrath.
In the 40th Psalm David made a plea to God: I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit (a literal Hell), out of the miry clay (that which was attempting to hold him there), and set my feet upon a rock (rock of salvation), and established my goings (steps) (Psalm 40:1-2).
Such an appeal is available to all who have forsaken God's provision for salvation of the soul (through the Lord Jesus Christ); who have become enslaved to a sin-filled world, having rejected the Gospel message of salvation. Today is the day of salvation for tomorrow may be too late!
It was noted that tragically, most of the 7.5 billion people on this earth do not live in a right relationship with God. This fact alone reveals how greatly is the Gospel about justification (bring brought into the right relationship with God) by grace through Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed. The way out of bondage to sin and death is justification by faith in Jesus Christ.
Scripture reveals: If we confess our sins, he (the Lord) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If any man sin, we have an advocate (intercessor) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).
It was noted that Jesus came from the portals of glory; a heavenly abode, as the Son of God, to bring the message of salvation to the lost, then willingly gave of His life on the Cross of Calvary to make an atonement for the sins of the world, through the sacrificial giving of His life, that we might have eternal life; a wonderful life after death experience with a heavenly gain for eternity.
Jesus not only died for our sins, but was resurrected from the dead on the third day; as witnessed by many, then later ascended to be at the right hand of God. Just as Jesus was resurrected; so shall the saved of the earth follow suit. Scripture reveals: They that have done good (accepted salvation through Christ) unto the resurrection of life (eternal life in Christ); and they that have done evil (rejected the Gospel message), unto the resurrection of damnation (eternal condemnation) (John 5:29).
Scripture reveals: There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit (the breath of life); neither has the power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it (Ecclesiastes 8:8).
It was noted that whatever power one may exercise over their bodies, they have none to retain it. Man cannot keep life one moment longer when it is called for and required by God, the Creator of all. Death strips a man of all power and authority; death is lord of all, all must and do submit to it, in the day fixed for it. Scripture reveals: It is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
The prophet Joel, in speaking the words of the Lord, said: Put you in the sickle (God's wrath), for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press (winepress) is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:13-14).
It was noted that the scene is not one where the multitudes are in the midst of making a decision in favor of the Lord and repenting of their sin. This judgment will be meted out against them in the day of the Lord that takes place in the Great Tribulation. Those who are found to follow evil rather than good; will find life after death not a pleasant one!
Scripture reveals: What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26). It was noted that though man may be seeking his own profit, will find himself sadly mistaken; because all the power, pleasures, and riches of it, will one day be forfeited.
Nothing short of the cleansing blood of Christ, will keep one from the wrath of God, with the soul irrecoverable, in a literal burning Hell, never to be retrieved. Today is the day of salvation! Life after death can be of a victorious nature (through Jesus as one's Lord and Savior), rather than one of doom (a Devil's Hell); if the right decision is made!
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