Sunday, July 02, 2006

What happens when I die?

The Bible teaches that everyone has sinned. That truth is evident. The Bible also teaches that when we sin, we break God’s universal law and offend our Creator. In so doing we have defied His authority and declared ourselves lord of our world. We have, in essence, become God’s enemy.

Since God is perfect, He cannot be in the presence of sin; He cannot be tainted with it. He is, in a very real sense, allergic to sin.

He has created a place for sinners, where His presence is not. The Bible calls this place hell. It is an eternal lake of fire, a bottomless pit, and outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Bible further teaches that the soul of man is everlasting. Therefore, without intervention on God’s part our soul, at death, enters an eternal hell.

And yet, the Bible has been called “God’s love letter to man.” Although God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin, He does love the sinner and desires to have a relationship with him/her. Therefore, in order to provide a way for such a relationship, while maintaining His essence (His Holiness), the triune God devised a plan in eternity past. In this plan the second person of the Godhead, the Son - Jesus Christ, at the appointed time would leave His heavenly dwelling and come to earth to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect life (as a man), and to pay man’s penalty for sin. Jesus did so. Born of the virgin Mary, Jesus lived 33 years without sinning. Then in six hours on the cross He paid the eternally penalty for all men. Only an infinite God could do so, only man could die for man’s sin. Thus, the God man Jesus Christ.

A story from history helps to illuminate this amazing work of Christ.

At the turn of the 19th Century in a small one-street town in Arizona there lived a Blacksmith: a loner, who was avoided. One holiday, the entire citizenship, except for one man, had a celebration. The Blacksmith stayed in his shop, at the opposite end of town. During the festivities a child strayed near the shop. A lady looked toward the child and shrilled in terror. A coyote was eyeing the young lad. Everyone knew that a coyote this close to town, at mid-day, meant rabies. The coyote sprang for the child yet was snatched in mid-air by the Blacksmith who immediately broke its neck; yet the damage had been done as the unsung hero drew back his bloodstained arm. The blacksmith died a slow, painful death.

He had taken the lad’s place, just as Jesus took ours.

One might ask, “If Jesus died for every man does every man go to heaven?” No. If you were dying of thirst and I purchased water and offered it to you, you would still have to accept my gift.

The Bible teaches that in order to accept the free gift of salvation one must trust his life totally into God’s hand. It is not enough just to believe that Jesus dies on the cross for one’s sins and arose from the dead. One must believe that truth to the extent that he/she trust his/her live into His hand.

Not long ago a prisoner and a jail deputy developed a relationship. Her love for him prompted her to trust her life into his hands. She resigned as a deputy, married the inmate, and within a year her entire life had changed because of her faith in him.

This former deputy showed up at the courthouse one day where her new husband was being transferred, she shot two of her former colleagues and freed her husband. Soon they were caught, but the story of George and Jennifer Hyatte is an example of how much we must trust a loving God with our life. His Word must become our guide. (While George was evil in his request of his bride our God could never be.)

So, “what happens when I die?”

It depends. The Bible teaches, the moment we breathe our last breath our spirit will immediately go to one of two places. Either an eternal hell or an eternal heaven.

If it is your desire to go to heaven, then trust your life into God’s hands. It is as simple as accepting His gift and trusting Him. It can be done, by saying “God I confess that I am a sinner, I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I believe that He appeased your anger, removed my sin and took my place, I believe He arose from the dead. Jesus come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name, Amen.”

The prayer does not save you, but rather the trusting of your life to God. If you did trust God with your life, please, leave a comment. I will get in touch with you and share what to expect with the wonderful changes God has begun in your life as well as some material to help you in your new relationship with Christ.

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