What Happens Next?

1 Corinthians 15:20
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

When I was sixteen years old, driving to my first part-time job, a wild thought entered my mind. I thought, “I wonder what happens after we die?” I realized later I was grappling with one of the deepest philosophical questions man has ever attempted to answer, but at that time I had never considered anything like it before. As quickly as the question entered my mind, I came up with an answer, “When we die we go to heaven.” This was followed by the question, “What is heaven?” To which I answered, “Heaven is getting to do whatever you want for all of time.” I then asked a third question, “Who goes to heaven?” To which I replied,”Those who are good.” This of course brought me to a final question, “Who is good?” My final answer was a little more difficult to develop, but there on the way to work, I determined that I was good and anyone who lived up to my standard was also good and would be allowed into my heaven. In the few minutes that it took, I had asked and answered the most important questions that a person will ever be asked. I had also completely satisfied myself with my answers. Had anyone asked me what happens after we die, I would have spoken with authority, explaining the way to heaven and the purpose of life. As you can see, there was one obvious problem; it was all a product of my own imagination! My way of living, my heaven, even my god, were the product of my own imagination.

Philosophers have been grappling with these same questions since the beginning of time. Some have come up with very elaborate systems to explain what they think happens after death. The problem with all of these systems is the same, they are the product of the imagination of man. No one has died, gone to heaven, and come back to explain who God is, what heaven is like, and how to live in preparation for that time. No one, that is, except Jesus Christ. When speaking to a man named Nicodemus, Jesus explained that “no one has ascended to heaven except He who came down from heaven.” In other words, the only way to answer these questions is to listen to the One who came from heaven to prepare man for life after death.

According to the Word of God, the person who believes they are a sinner and Christ is the Savior, is prepared for life after death. That person will take a final breath in their earthly body and awake in the presence of the Lord, in a body prepared for eternity. Scripture refers to this as “the Resurrection”. The basis for our confidence in our future resurrection is the fact that Christ rose from the dead. How can we be certain that Christ rose from the dead? There are many avenues we could venture down to answer this question, not the least of which is to look at the lives of those who have trusted Christ and see how they have been transformed by Him.

Rather than imagining what we think life is about, or what happens after death, perhaps it would be better to listen to the One who knows. Take a few minutes to read through 1 Corinthians 15 in your Bible, paying special attention to the first few verse where Paul explains how we prepare for life after death.

If you have any questions contact me, I would love to help any way I can.
jg@ccvb.net
Pastor Jim