The Response-Ability oF Choice
Christ Jesus initiates that we spend eternity with Him forever and ever with the promise that He will return and take all who believe in Him to live with Him in the Father’s House for all eternity!
This glorious hope is for both the believers which have “died in faith” waiting for his return and those who remain alive at His coming.
Yet what is glorious hope for the believer is great sorrow for those who have chosen to reject Christ.
Let’s consider what the Word of God teaches us about what happens after we die a natural death.
When a person dies, the soul and spirit vacate the body.
For the believer, to “be away from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord.”
“We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight …we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
Immediately after death, the believers’ souls/spirits are taken up to heaven
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Stephen, the Martyr, while being stoned to death calls out in the witness of others,
“Look”, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Jesus Himself supports this when he says to the thief on the cross,
“Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The soul/spirit of the believer is taken up to heaven while the lifeless body remains in the grave “sleeping”.
Listen to this,
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
(1 Corinthians 15:50-54)
There is a day foretold when all believers shall be resurrected , their “sleeping” bodies brought up from the grave, resurrected imperishable and immortal, reuniting body, soul and spirit!
The believer shall reign in Christ Jesus eternal Kingdom with this reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit. (Revelation 21-22)
But, for those who choose to not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, death means eternal punishment.
Luke 16:22-23 describes a picture of the souls/spirits of the unbelievers being tormented in Hades (Hell). One description of hell in the Bible says,
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth…”
Another passage describes it as eternal “agony”.
Apostle John had a vision of Judgment Day for the unbeliever. It is recorded in Revelation 20:11-15.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.
Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
And the sea gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, and according to what they had done.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, we was thrown into the lake of fire.”
At the Great White Throne Judgment Day, it seems the unbelievers’ bodies are also resurrected, yet not to eternal glory but to eternal damnation and agony.
It is the Lord’s desire that none should perish and face eternity in hell, so great is His love for each and every person.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
Yet, that same love binds Him to honor the freedom of personal choice. Love without freedom to choose is no love at all!! Each person is given freedom to choose whether or not to be a follower of Christ Jesus.
God has made us powerful people. As powerful people we retain the right to choose our response to His Love and Salvation Plan. We retain the right to choose our response to be a part of His everlasting Kingdom.
We have the Ability to Respond!
Do you know anyone who might be encouraged to hear this message? How might you share this message with them?
If you would like to listen to Sunday's message, "Our Response-Ability", please click below.
If you would like to respond to God's love, receive God's forgiveness and ask the Lord Jesus to be your Saviour, I encourage you to do so! You can pray your own prayer or pray a prayer like this:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I am a sinner. I fall short of your standard of holiness. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ came to save the world and to bring us back into relationship with you.
I believe He came to save me by taking my sin onto Himself. Thank you for forgiving all of my sin through Jesus Christ!
Jesus, come and be my Saviour.
I bow my knee, receive you as Lord and offer my life to you.
In Jesus' Name.
If you have prayed that prayer for the first time, we would love to hear from you so we can support you in your decision. Please email email@example.com or call 306-736-8992.