after we die

A cemetery is a humbling place. Maybe you have a loved one there today. You’re going to end up there someday as well, right? If you are a believer and follower of Jesus, what happens to you when you die?

When a believer and follower of Jesus dies, he is buried but his soul goes immediately into God’s presence. This is a reason to rejoice and we as believers do not need to fear death. Paul was okay with his own death in 2 Corinthians 5:8 when he said, “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” He told the Philippians in 1:23-24, “I am hard pressed between the two [life and death]. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better, but to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” He assured the Romans that not even death could separate us from Christ (8:38-39). Jesus died so that He would deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to slavery (Hebrews 2:15), and Jesus Himself said to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” The believer in Christ should not fear death and can even look forward to it with joy and peace.

There is more good news about death if you are a believer and follower of Jesus. Jesus said a resurrection was coming (John 5:28-29) but not to grieve or fear because “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die (John 11:25-26).” Christ redeems our spirits and our whole persons, including our bodies. This will happen when Christ returns and raises the bodies of those who’ve died and changes the bodies of all believers who are left alive. Everyone in Christ will receive new and resurrected bodies in glory, just like Christ, and live with Jesus forever, as Paul encouraged the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Believers and followers of Jesus do not need to fear death. We will share in the glory of Christ. Death is inevitable in this broken and fallen world, but it is an enemy that has been defeated by Jesus; it has no victory or sting any longer over the Christian (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). Jesus said in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” We may mourn and miss a loved one in Christ, but we in Christ will see them again. We in Christ have the promise, hope, and good news that Christ saves us completely, body and soul, and we will live with Him forever in the new heavens and earth, with no more tears or suffering (Revelation 21-22). Amen.