What Happens When Someone Dies?
Updated: May 7, 2019
According to the Bible, when a person dies they will stand before God to be judged.
Please take a moment to consider that truth; it’s a sobering thought. The question then becomes how will you do on that day? On Judgment Day, will you be found innocent or guilty of breaking God's laws?
God's standard for us to get to heaven is complete perfection. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." James 2:10
Are you perfect in all of your thoughts, words, and actions? You may respond, "No, nobody's perfect, but I'm still a pretty good person." Let's see if God agrees with you, by looking into what He has said in Scripture.
· Have you ever told a lie? How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar? Just one. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. Revelation 21:8
· Ever stolen anything? Thieves won't enter God's Kingdom. 1 Corinthians 6:10
· Have you blasphemed God's name or used it carelessly? "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." Exodus 20:7
· If you hate someone, God calls you a murderer. "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 1 John 3:15 We can violate God's law by attitude and intent.
· Jesus warned, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 Would Jesus find you guilty of committing adultery of the heart? Adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
At this point you might be saying something like, "My God isn't this strict." or "To me, God's standard isn't this high." Since God cannot lie and the Bible is true, if you are making these statements, you are actually believing in a god that doesn't exist. This is what the Bible says. Don't you think that it is extremely important to find out if this is true or not?
In case you're thinking that I am claiming to never to have broken these laws, you'd be absolutely wrong. I've broken them all, maybe more so than you have. The fact is before we can understand the "good news" about Jesus, we have to recognize and acknowledge the bad news.
The bad news is the penalty for sin is death. "The soul that sins shall die." Ezekiel 18:4 You have actually angered God by your sin. God really does get angry, and His wrath is very real. God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11 The Bible says His wrath abides on you John 3:36, and you are an enemy of God because of your evil behavior. Colossians 1:21 All of God's anger and wrath is poured out in a place called hell.
Many people believe hell is not a fitting punishment for a few lies, stealing small stuff, and lusting after pretty girls. Let me explain why hell is appropriate. Consider this scenario: If I tell a lie to my son, nothing is going to happen to me. If I lie to my wife, I'm on the couch that night. If I lie to my boss, I could lose my job. If I lie to the government, that's perjury, I'm going to jail. Same crime committed each time, but what changed? It's the one who was lied to. It's not that our crimes are so huge; it's against whom those crimes have been committed. Crimes against an eternal being are deserving of an eternal punishment.
Maybe you think that God is good and will therefore overlook your sins. God is good, that is why He must punish the guilty. If you were guilty of terrible crimes and went to court and said to the judge, "Judge, I am guilty, but I believe that you are a good man and will therefore overlook my crimes." The judge would probably respond by saying, "You are right about one thing; I am a good man, and it's because of my goodness that I am going to see that justice is done, I will see to it that you are punished for your crimes." The very thing that you are hoping will save you on Judgment Day (God's goodness), will be the very thing that will condemn you.
This may sound strange, but the worst thing you could do at this point is to try to clean up your life. You realize that you have sinned against God, so from now on; you will try to do the best you can. Again, in a court of law should a judge let a murderer go because he says he will now live a good life? No, he's in debt to justice and therefore must be punished.
The law of God is simply like a mirror to see all the dirt that is on you. You wouldn't use the mirror itself to try to get clean; you would use water to wash away the dirt. The sight in the mirror is not pretty, but if you don't see that you are unclean, then all that "dirt" will still be there on judgment day as evidence of your guilt, and then it will be too late to be cleansed.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love he has for us made a way where His justice and His goodness could come together. God's holiness demands that every sin must be punished. Every sin will be paid for – either we will pay the price ourselves (eternal separation from God in a place called hell) or someone else could pay it for us. The only one qualified to pay that price is the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ.
God showed His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 He suffered unspeakable agony, so that you wouldn't have to be punished for your sins. His sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, mean that you can avoid receiving what you've earned for yourself.
Instead of receiving God's justice, you can receive His mercy. God offers us something that none of us deserve - grace. It's only by His grace that you may be granted eternal life, because death no longer has a legal hold upon those who belong to Jesus Christ.
The Father sent His only Son, Jesus (God in the flesh), to die in the place of rebellious sinners, so that by His death, we might live. The world's greatest love story is summed up in the following verse - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 Jesus said, "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 How can you show more love than giving your life for someone else?
Yet, if we trust in our own goodness to enter heaven, we are saying to God, "Because I have done some good things in my life - I have earned my way in." When we talk of entering heaven by being good, we are tossing God ten cents of "self-righteousness", which is a terrible insult to Him in light of the tremendous price that He has paid.
The only thing we can do is humble ourselves, repent, and receive His free gift by trusting in Jesus Christ alone. If you want to trust in your own goodness, then you are saying His agonizing death on the cross wasn't needed. The Bible says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 You cannot earn a gift.
Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15
Repentance literally means to "change your mind." However, biblically speaking, it means a whole lot more than that. To repent means to turn from your sins, by turning to God. Realize that you have lived under your own authority. You have lived the way you wanted to. You have lived without regard for God and His laws, by doing what you want, when you want, without concern that you are sinning against the One who gave you your life and sustains your every breath.
The choice is before you right now - continue pursuing the fleeting pleasures of sin, which never fully satisfy, and carry the price tag of an eternity in hell, or humble yourself and turn to the Lord for forgiveness and receive eternal life and the promise of heaven after your death.
God is good, and He will save you from the wrath to come through repentance and faith. Put your faith in Jesus Christ the same way you would put your faith in a parachute. You don't merely believe in the parachute - you put it on. You know you're going to have to jump (death) so please don't "jump" without Jesus. If you die in your sins there is no second chance. God will give you justice, and you will end up in hell forever.
Lastly, please think about this: count the cost. God makes no promises that this will be an easy life. In fact, the Bible says that you will encounter many trials, troubles and persecution for following after Jesus. Fighting against sin and living for God is extremely hard, but it is well worth it. Any troubles that you encounter in this life are nothing compared to the trouble that awaits those who don't have their sins forgiven on the Day of Judgment. Please give this some serious thought, and don't put it off any longer. Confess your sins to God; turn from them and put your trust in Jesus.
He is the only way of salvation.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
For there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! When you do, you can then have peace with God. Romans 5:1 When you repent and believe this amazing gospel, you can know what will happen to you when you die. You'll be welcomed into God's glorious presence, not based upon what you have done, but what Jesus has done for you.