This video is about the everlasting hope that is found in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Why do millions of people around the world celebrate Easter? What evidence is there that Jesus Christ is alive today? Discover the answers to these questions and much more. Please share this video with those you want to see in heaven.
Scripture are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. The song “Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow” by Jesusman, is Public Domain Mark 1.0 and is therefore not subject to copyright. Pictures are used with permission from Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing/ www.Freebibleimages.org, www.Goodsalt.com, or they are creative common licenses.
This video provides practical instruction on how to share the good news or gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not have Christ in their lives. If you are eager to introduce people to the Savior of the world, this video will equip you to do just that! This video is also great for those who do not know for sure they will go to heaven when they die. The contents of this video will clearly show them from the Bible what they must know and believe to go to heaven.
“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8
After Jesus forewarned His disciples of the world’s coming hostility and persecution of them (15:18-16:4), He began to encourage them with the Holy Spirit’s ministry that would take place while He was gone. Last time we learned that we can overcome fear in evangelism when we GRASP THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE WHEN WE WITNESS (John 16:5-7) because God the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every believer in Jesus.
The second way for us to overcome fear in evangelism is to GIVE UNBELIEVERS THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL AND LET THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVINCE THEM IT IS TRUE (John 16:8-11). In John 15:27, Jesus told His disciples to “bear witness” about Him. However, He also told them it would not be easy. Some would put them out of the synagogues and even kill them (John 16:2). In the midst of this distressing news, He offers them encouragement by introducing them to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8). What does the word “convict” (elegchei) mean? It means to “convince someone of something.” 1 John is using this word in a legal sense here. When a prosecuting attorney presents his case in such a way that demonstrates that something is true, he convicts his listeners. However, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit forces someone to believe something is true. A person can hear compelling evidence that something is true and still reject it. 2
The Holy Spirit assists people in coming to faith in Christ. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convince non-Christians in three areas. What are they? “Of sin… righteousness and judgment.” Notice the implied tenses of these nouns: past “sin,” present “righteousness,” and future “judgment.” 3When the gospel is preached, it is the Holy Spirit Who convicts people of their “sin,” and that they need God’s “righteousness” through faith in Jesus, because without it, they will face certain “judgment” without hope of anything but eternal condemnation.
Beginning in verse 9, Jesus explains why the Holy Spirit convicts the world in these three areas. “Of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” (John 16:9). The word “sin” (hamartias) means “to miss the mark or standard.”4 All people fall short of God’s perfect righteousness because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) against God through their thoughts, words, actions, and motives.
Yet the world tries to persuade people that they are not sinners. Many secular scientists and psychologists seem bent on destroying peoples’ awareness of sin. They may say that all people are inherently good. As a result, many people have a difficult time admitting they are guilty of sin. Oh, they may admit that they make mistakes or have failures and vices, but it is very difficult for them to admit that they have sinned against God. Even some churches say that people are not that bad and because God is love, He will accept everyone into heaven.
But the ultimate proof of the world’s sinfulness, Jesus says, is that “they do not believe in Me.” A court of law can convict someone of murder or theft, but only the Holy Spirit can convict someone of unbelief toward Christ. The Holy Spirit can convict people of their individual sins they have committed, but people can clean up their own lives and still go to hell. It is the sin of unbelief toward Jesus Christ that condemns people to an eternity in hell (John 3:18). 5 That is why the Bible says that “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast in to the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15). Those who refuse to believe in Jesus will not have their names written in the Book of Life.
Unbelievers are judged according to their works to determine their degree of punishment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-13; cf. Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40), not their eternal destination. But their condemnation and placement in the lake of fire is because of their unbelief toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:15; cf. John 3:18).
So we see first, that the Holy Spirit wants to convict non-Christians of their sinfulness because they refuse to believe or trust in Jesus Christ alone as their only way to heaven. Because faith in Christ and His full payment for sin on the cross (John 19:30) is the only solution to our sin problem, the Holy Spirit wants to convict people of their sinful condition, so they can see their need to believe or trust in Jesus alone. The Holy Spirit is the prosecuting attorney who presents God’s case against sinful humanity. He creates an awareness of sin so that it cannot be dismissed or excused or evaded by taking refuge in the fact that “everybody is doing it.” When we are convicted of our sin, we admit to God that we have been wrong in our unbelief toward Jesus and then we believe or trust in Him alone, so we can approach God the Father in heaven.
The reason why the Holy Spirit convicts the world in the area of “righteousness” is explained in the next verse. “Of righteousness, because I go to the Father and you see Me no more.” (John 16:10). The Holy Spirit convicts the world “of righteousness,” because Jesus would suffer and die for our sins and rise from the dead and “go to” His “Father” in heaven, proving that He was the perfect Son of God. Had Jesus not been the perfect Son of God, the Father would not have received Him in heaven. Because God has no sin, Jesus could not enter into His presence in heaven if He were not righteous. For people to be accepted by God and able to enter into His heaven, they must measure up to Christ’s righteousness. No human being can accomplish this on their own. 6
This is why the Holy Spirit wants to convict the world that their righteousness before God depends not on their good works, but upon the finished work of Christ on the cross for them. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven prove that He was the perfect Son of God. Christ’s righteousness is what satisfied God’s holy demand to punish sin, not our own righteousness.
When sharing the gospel with the unsaved, they may respond by saying, “I’m not as bad as him or her” or “I have not murdered anyone or committed adultery like so and so…” But God is not measuring our righteousness based on what other people have done or not done. He is measuring our righteousness based on what His Son, Jesus Christ, has done, and all of us fall short of Jesus’ perfection (Romans 3:23). Jesus never, ever told a lie. But we lie to ourselves and others daily. Christ never had one unkind thought. But we average a minimum of five a day. God’s Son never hated His enemies. But sometimes we can’t even stand the person we are married to or live with. So when it comes to behavior, in God’s eyes, we do not measure up. All of us fall short of Jesus’ perfection. Christ is the only Person Who never sinned (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 3:18). Therefore, we must trust in Christ alone to be declared totally righteous before God.
“But to him who does not work, but believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5). When you trust in Christ alone for His gift of righteousness, God looks at your sin as covered by Jesus’ shed blood on the Cross. He takes the righteousness of His Son and places it on you. Therefore, you can stand before a holy God with the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
Henry Ironside shares a helpful illustration about what it means to be justified before God. One morning on his way to a sheep ranch, he noticed a very peculiar sight. He saw an old ewe loping across the road followed by the strangest looking lamb he had ever seen. It seemed to have six legs, and the last two were hanging helplessly as though paralyzed. When one of the sheep ranchers caught the lamb and brought it over to Ironside, the rancher explained that the lamb did not really belong to that ewe. She had a lamb that was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. This lamb that Ironside saw was an orphan and needed a mother’s care. But at first the ewe refused to have anything to do with it. She sniffed at it when it was brought to her, then pushed it away, saying as plainly as a sheep could say it, “That is not my lamb!” So the ranchers skinned the lamb that had died and covered the living lamb with the dead lamb’s skin. When the covered lamb was brought again to the ewe (see above photo), she smelled it once more and accepted the lamb as her own as if to say, “That is Mine!”
Like that orphan lamb, all people are born as outcasts, separated from God because of their sin. But God’s only perfect Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), died in our place on the cross and rose from the dead, so that when we believe or trust in Him alone, we are clothed with His righteousness. God can accept us into His family now because He sees the righteousness of His Son instead of our sin. He can say, “That is Mine!”
“Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:11). The reason the Holy Spirit convicts the world “of judgment” is “because the ruler of this world [Satan] is judged” already in heaven by God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19), and will shortly be judged at the cross (cf. John 12:31; Colossians 2:15), and later confined to the lake of fire at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:2, 7-10). The word “judged” (kekritai)is in the perfect tense and passive voice which means Satan was judged by God in the past and remains condemned today. Like a convicted criminal, Satan awaits his execution when he will be cast into the lake of fire to “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).
The Holy Spirit wants to convince people that if they refuse to believe in Jesus for His gift of righteousness, then they will experience the same eternal “judgment” as the Devil. His judgment is fixed and permanent. Satan’s eternal judgment guarantees that all who are in his kingdom through unbelief will also be condemned. If a person dies without believing in Christ alone for His gift of everlasting life, their condemnation cannot be lifted. It is permanent (cf. Hebrews 9:27). There are no second chances after you die.
Many people today, including Christians, do not believe in hell or eternal punishment even though Jesus and the apostles taught about its reality (cf. Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 13:40-42, 47-50; 18:9; 23:33; 25:46; Mark 3:29; 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; 16:19-31; John 3:18, 36b; James 3:6; 2 Peter 2:4, 17; Jude 1:7, 13; Revelation 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; et al.). But it is not our responsibility to convince them of the reality of hell. The Holy Spirit will do this as we preach the gospel to a lost world.
It is the Holy Spirit Who can convince a typical non-Christian who has no sense of his own sinfulness, who sees no need for God’s righteousness, and who pays no attention to the warnings of coming judgment. It is not our responsibility to convince people of the truth of the gospel; that responsibility belongs to the Holy Spirit. Our job is to clearly and effectively communicate the truth of the gospel and let the Holy Spirit convince them that it is true.
In February 2017 when I was flying to Northern Samar for a mission trip in the Philippines, I sat next to a Filipino law school student who visited with me about President Trump. She made it clear to me she did not like President Trump and nor could she understand how I could like him. She was getting very angry as I shared my supporting views about the President and his policies. As our conversation progressed, I began praying for the Lord to give me wisdom on shifting the focus from politics to the gospel.
A few minutes later, I said to her, “I really would like to share with you about something far more important than politics.” “Really?!” She exclaimed. “What could that be?!” I said, “How you can know for sure from the Bible how you can go to heaven when you die.” “Oh,” she said quietly. Then I asked her, “May I share from the Bible how you can know for sure you will go to heaven when you die?” She said, “Yes.” I then shared the bad news (Romans 3:23; 6:23) good news (I Corinthians 15:1-6; John 3:16) approach with her. Afterward, she indicated she was now trusting in Christ alone as her only way to heaven. Her whole demeanor softened as the gospel was shared with her. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit convicted her of her sin and her need for the Savior, so she could escape the eternal judgment that awaits those who refuse to believe or trust in Christ alone for His gift of salvation.
When we realize that the Holy Spirit is already at work in the hearts and minds of unbelievers around us to persuade them of their own sinfulness and their need for Christ’s righteousness to escape the eternal judgment of God, we will have more confidence to share the gospel with the unsaved world. Knowing of the Holy Spirit’s convicting work among the unsaved can also give us a greater sense of expectancy as we proclaim the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection, inviting the unsaved to believe in Jesus alone as their only hope of heaven.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is with a heap of gratitude that I approach You right now. Without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the world, there would be no reason to expect a bountiful harvest when we share the gospel with the lost. But because the Spirit of God is already at work persuading non-Christians of their sin so they may see their need to believe in Jesus for His gift of righteousness to escape the same eternal judgment as Satan, we can boldly share Christ with them. Please enable us to clearly communicate the truth of the gospel to the lost as we rely on the Holy Spirit to convince them that it is true. In Your precious name we pray, Lord Jesus. Amen.
1. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, compiled by Walter Bauer, trans. and adapted by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, 2nd ed., rev. and augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), pg. 249.
2. Robert N. Wilkin, “The Gospel According to John,” The Grace New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1: Matthew – Acts (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), pg. 453.
3. Tom Constable, Notes on John, 2017 Edition, pg. 298-299.
4. Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in The New Testament, Vol V: John and Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1932), pg. 267.
5. Constable, pg. 300.
6. The Evangelism Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, copyright 2014 EvanTell, Inc.), pg. 1187.
believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned
already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of
God.” John 3:18
As I have
shared the gospel with others one of the disturbing questions among
non-Christians is how can a loving God send anyone to hell? To many
people this seems like a major contradiction. One minute, preachers will talk
about God’s love and forgiveness. Then they turn around and talk about hell – a
terrible place of torment and unending fire where people want to die but they
are unable to. How can God claim to be loving and forgiving and then turn
around and send someone to such a terrible place of agony and suffering?
How do you respond to this question? Let’s look in our Bibles at John
3:16-21 where Jesus is having a conversation with a religious leader named
Nicodemus. We have been doing a verse-by-verse study of the gospel of John.
This book helps us see the major emphasis of Jesus’ ministry. While Christ was
on earth, He was not scaring people out of going to hell with bad news;
instead, He was inviting people to heaven with good news. Jesus spoke
more about hell more than anyone else in the Bible, but that was not the major
emphasis of His ministry. He did not earn His reputation as a “friend
of sinners”(Matthew 11:19) by being harsh. He earned it by
being loving and kind and extending His love and forgiveness to people like all
of us. Jesus’ message and ministry were not trying to scare people out of hell;
but inviting them to receive the gift of eternal life so they could live with
Him forever in heaven.
God’s love wants all people to live
with Him in heaven. Jesus said to Nicodemus (and us), “For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should
not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). God loves the entire
world – over 7.8 billion people at the time of writing this article. How do we
know this? Because He gave His only Son to die on a cross (I Corinthians
15:1-8). Why did Jesus have to die? Because God is holy and perfect (Leviticus
19:2; Isaiah 6:1-5; Matthew 5:48; Romans 3:23; I Peter 1:16). The fact that God
is holy and perfect demands that He must punish sin (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; Romans
6:23a; Revelation 20:15; 21:8). A “slap
on the wrist” is not enough. Due to its awful nature, sin is punishable by
death (Romans 6:23a). Not physical death – but eternal death or separation from
God (Matthew 25:41, 46b; Revelation 20:15; 21:8).
for us, God let His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who never knew any sin – no
wrong thoughts, bad words, unkind attitudes, or evil actions – die on a cross
where you and I should have been punished (2 Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 3:18). Christ
took our place on a cross. The nails that should have been driven through
our hands and feet, were, instead, driven through His. Keep in mind, Christ
didn’t have to suffer for your sin – He loved you enough to do it. When God
brought His Son up from the grave on the third day, He was providing proof that
He could now extend forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who believes in
Jesus. There is no sin that Christ cannot forgive and no person that He
will not accept if he or she comes to Him on His terms.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but
that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17). This is the heart of
God. Some people confuse Christianity with religion. They think God sent Jesus
to earth to make us miserable. They think Christianity is a bunch of dos and
don’ts. “Don’t drink… don’t cuss… don’t
smoke… don’t chew… and don’t run around
with girls who do.” They perceive God to be sitting up in heaven just
waiting to hit them with His holy hammer when they mess up. But this verse
tells us the very opposite. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn
us, but to cleanse us. He did not come to rub our sin in, He came to rub it
Imagine for a moment… one of your children when they were small, playing in the road. You see a fast-moving car approaching. You know you can’t reach him in time. Running toward him you yell, “Get out of the road and come here!” It is important at that moment that your child trusts you and responds. Are you trying to ruin his fun? No, you are trying to save his life! God knows that we are all in danger. We are in danger of spending eternity separated from Him. The Bible calls it the second death and it is racing towards all of humanity (Revelation 20:6, 11-15). For that reason, God sent His Son to die on a cross, as a sacrifice for our sins. He’s paid our penalty. All He asks in return is that we believe or trust in Christ for eternal life (John 3:16).
want any human being to spend eternity in hell. In fact, Jesus tells us that
hell was intended for the devil and his angels: “Then He will also say to
those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire
prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41). Since God did not want us to spend eternity
in hell, He sent His Son to die in our place so that whoever believes in Him
should not perish in hell but have everlasting life.
loves us so much, then why would He send anyone to such a horrible place as
hell? Please hear this – GOD DOESN’T SEND ANYONE TO HELL. PEOPLE SEND
God’s love allows people to choose
between heaven and hell. Jesus said, “He who believes
in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John
3:18). When a person refuses to believe in Jesus Christ they are rejecting God’s
offer. They are condemning themselves. When a person refuses to trust Christ
alone for the free gift of eternal life they are in essence saying to God, “I reject what Jesus Christ did in my place
as my Substitute.” Therefore, God has no choice but to let us pay for our
own sin, through eternal separation from Him in what the Bible calls hell. Those
who go to hell are going there of their own choosing because they have
rejected Christ and His free offer. God has not rejected them; instead, they
have rejected God.
Suppose God blessed you and your spouse with a little boy. You love that little boy so much that you would do anything for him. Forbid the thought, but suppose that when your little boy is twenty-one, he begins a wayward life and eventually murders someone. Your state sentences him to die by lethal injection. Suppose that you could walk into his cell the morning he is to be executed and offer to take his place. That’s how great your love is for him. In so doing, you explain that he can be a free and forgiven man. Much to your surprise, he pushes you aside, walks to the table, and receives the punishment for his horrible crime himself. Did you not love him enough? Would you accept the accusation, “If you really loved your son, you wouldn’t have allowed that to happen”? Not at all! You did not reject him; he rejected you.
This is why
the Bible puts the responsibility where it belongs when it says, “but he
who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18b). Why would someone reject
Christ’s free offer of everlasting life? Why would someone choose hell
instead of heaven? The answer is in the following verses.
People love their sin more than the Savior. Jesus says to Nicodemus (and to us), “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19). The presence of God’s light – His truth- forces people to make a choice – to either believe in Christ or reject Him. The reason people reject Christ’s offer of a free gift is because they love their sin more, and they want to stay in the darkness because it hides their sinfulness.
honest, sin is fun. Sin feels good. Sin initially appears attractive. But sin
is like a black widow spider. The bite of the female black widow spider can
be deadly to humans. But the black widow gets its name because after the male
has mated with the female, she kills and eats him. Sin has somewhat of the same
effect on us. It is initially attractive and pleasurable, but in the end, it
can devour us forever.
For example, suppose a person is unwilling to come to Christ because he is afraid of what God might do with the sins he enjoys? If that man so enjoys his immorality or drug abuse or overeating and, in fear of what God might do, is unwilling to come to Christ, he needs to examine Matthew 5:29-30:“29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (cf. Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-45). What does Jesus mean here?
explain where I’m at in my understanding of this passage. Alcoholism, drug
abuse, pornography, and sexual addiction are examples of sins which dominate
the lives and thinking of millions upon millions today. People turn to such
things to medicate their inner pain. The sinful addiction provides a
temporary distraction or relief. However, it does not eliminate the pain. In
fact, it takes more and more of the addictive behavior to keep masking the
People can also turn to things like sports, work, home decorating, shopping, recreational activities, and hobbies to distract them from inner pain. These things, morally neutral in moderation, can so dominate a person’s time and attention as to become idolatrous and sinful. Evangelist Larry Moyer writes: “Have you ever met a man whose hand was so involved in business that there was no time to think about spiritual things? Or a woman whose eyes were so focused on a neat or new home that she neglected spiritual matters? Christ’s warning to a person in that position was: None of those are worth eternal separation from God [bold letters mine]. Such a person would be wise to cut off the hand with which he works or to pluck out the eye with which she focuses on a new home.” (from Larry Moyer, The Toolbox, Aug-Oct 1989).
No one can come to faith in Christ unless they see their need for Him. People with sinful addictions often cannot see that need unless they hit bottom and give up the addiction. Turning from sins is not a condition of salvation. However, for some it may be a practical necessity – not to clean up their lives, but to be able to see their need and come to faith in Christ. Jesus is telling us in Matthew 5:29-30, that nothing is worth going to hell over. What our hands touch and what our eyes see – does it keep us from trusting in Christ for eternal life? We would be wise to cut off the hand or pluck out the eye. It is better to be here with one hand or eye than separated from God in hell with two hands or eyes.
Some people won’t let God love them because they will be exposed for what they really are – sinners in need of God’s love and forgiveness. This is especially true with church people. They live their lives being basically good, but if an invitation to trust Christ for salvation is given, they won’t respond because they are afraid their image will be shattered. They will be exposed and that is just too much to risk. But friends, love is risky. We take a risk receiving God’s love through Jesus Christ and we take a risk expressing our love back to Him.
Jesus said, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:20). I believe this verse can apply to Christians and non-Christians (“everyone”). We all dislike being shown that we are wrong. I feel that way myself. I don’t like to admit I am wrong. This verse is saying that this normal human reaction is part of our sinful nature. That’s why nobody wants to change. Nobody wants to admit he or she is wrong. When the Republicans are in power they try to convince the Democrats they have been wrong, but they won’t admit it. When the Democrats are in power they try to convince the Republicans they have made the wrong choices, but they won’t admit it either. Nobody wants to admit they are wrong. That is why it is so hard to change.
If you are a Christian and you have drifted away from God, you don’t like to be around believers who are walking with the Lord because it exposes your sinfulness and you start to feel uncomfortable. That is the Holy Spirit convicting you. It is not the committed Christian doing that. It is God inside of you nudging you to come back into the light. So, what do we do? We withdraw from committed believers and hang out with those who have no commitment to Christ. One of the ways we can tell that we are walking in darkness is by our lack of time with committed Christians. At first, we miss a Sunday. And then another and another. We don’t want to be exposed to the light of God’s Word because then we will have to face our sinfulness and shame.
“But he who does the truth comes to the
light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
(John 3:21). The phrase “comes to the light”
refers to the person “who does the
truth.” He comes to the light “that
his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God,” meaning
that they have “been produced by God.”
This verse is referring to Christians. Verse 20 referred to both Christians and
non-Christians. But this verse refers specifically to believers. And it is
saying that if we will do (not just say the right words but start doing) the
right things, despite our dislike of being shown to be wrong – if we are
willing, in other words, to begin to obey the truth even though it means we
have to admit we have been wrong – then we will find ourselves being drawn
to Jesus, for He is the Light. And if we are doers of the truth of God’s
Word, then we will openly identify with the light of Jesus Christ so that our
works can be seen as being produced by God’s grace working in our lives.
When we are living the way God wants us to live, we will have more
boldness to openly confess Jesus Christ before others whether they know the
Lord or not; whether they are receptive to Christ or not. But when we are not
living in a way that pleases the Lord we are less likely to openly identify
with Him because we are feeling guilty and ashamed.
Baptist is a believer who “does the truth and comes to the light” by boldly expressing his
convictions about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:15-18, 29-34; 3:22-36). Jesus
is warning Nicodemus who came “by night” (3:2) to come to Him “by day” now by boldly confessing Christ
which would be contrary to many of the other believing Pharisees (John 12:42-43).
To summarize: How can a loving God send anyone
to hell? He doesn’t. People send themselves to hell by rejecting God’s free
offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Why? Because they love their sin
more than the Savior.
You may be afraid to come to Jesus Christ because of mistakes in your past that still haunt you. You are afraid He will condemn you instead of cleanse you. There is no wrong too great for Jesus Christ to forgive. When I came to Christ as a filthy sinner back in 1979, I was met with compassion, not condemnation. Christ forgave me and accepted me as His own when I trusted in Him alone. And He helped me to put all my wrongdoings behind me. For the last forty-one years, I’ve been living in forgiveness. If He forgave me, He will forgive you, too. One of the most exciting things about the Christian life is not simply knowing I have been forgiven and I am going to heaven, although that is enough. But since I’ve come to Christ, I know He is with me all day every day. Disappointments do not seem nearly as big, and bad days do not seem nearly as bad with Him in my life.
came to earth to remove the condemnation all of us deserve and made it possible
to come freely and openly to Him. If you have never come to Christ in faith, will
you come to Him now just as you are? God does not want any human being to
spend eternity in hell. He loves us too much to send us there. But we send
ourselves to hell by refusing to believe in Christ to get us to heaven. We
can run every stop sign, ignore all the warnings, discount all the pleas to
change our minds about whatever is keeping us from trusting Christ and we can
choose the path toward destruction. Sunday School teachers can tell us, TV
evangelists can preach to us, pastors can warn us, but it is our choice to
ignore every warning or we can take them to heart. My friend, it is still
not too late. You can settle this issue right now. Simply take God at His
Word when He says, “He who believes in the Son is not condemned.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know I deserve to be separated from You forever in the Lake of Fire because I have sinned against You with my thoughts, words, and actions. You detest and hate sin, but amazingly You still love me and came to earth to cleanse me of my sins, not condemn me. You took my place on the cross to die for all of my sins. Three days later You rose from the dead and You are alive today offering eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in You. Right now, Lord Jesus, I am trusting You alone for Your everlasting life so I may live with You forever in heaven. Thank You, Jesus, for the everlasting life I now have and for the future home I will have in heaven. Please use me to share this good news with others so they may receive Your everlasting life and escape the eternal fires of hell which You intended for the devil and his angels. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Bible clearly tells us that every human being is comprised of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. The apostle Paul is writing to Christians, and he says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23). The spirit and soul are the immaterial or invisible part of human beings and the body, of course, is the physical part of us. God wants to “sanctify” or transform our spirit, soul, and body into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). But this transformation starts with our “spirit,” not our soul or body. Our spirit is the inner most part of us.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPIRIT AND SOUL
The Bible makes a distinction between the spirit and soul. “For
the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than
any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit…”
(Hebrew 4:12). What is the difference between our spirit and soul? Our
spirit is the inner most part of our being. This is why the spirit is mentioned
first in I Thessalonians 5:23. Our spirit connects with God Who is Spirit (John
4:23-24; cf. Romans 1:9; I Corinthians 6:17, 20; 14:14-15; Galatians 6:18;
Ephesians 4:23; 2 Timothy 4:22; Philemon 1:25). God, who is Spirit, transforms
our spirit. Our spirit is what animates our physical body. “For as the body
without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).
When our spirit leaves our physical body, our body dies (cf. Matthew 27:50;
Luke 23:45; John 19:30; Acts 7:59-60). Our soul also departs from our body at
death (cf. Genesis 35:18; I Kings 17:21-22).
According to I Thessalonians 5:23, our spirit
has been implanted in our soul, and our soul has been implanted
in our physical body. The Greek word for “soul” in the New
Testament is psychḗ which is where we get our English words “psyche”
or “psychology.” It has to do with a person’s distinct identity or life.
The soul is actually one’s self. Your soul is conscious of self. As God’s
Spirit communicates with our spirit, our spirit then communicates
what God’s Spirit said to our soul or self. Then our soul
communicates this to our body. Then our body communicates this to
our environment and the people who are aound us.
WHERE DO OUR SPIRIT AND SOUL GO AFTER DEATH?
When physical death occurs, the spirit and soul are separated
from the physical body. According to the Old Testament the spirit of
believers returns to the Lord at death. “Then the dust will return to the
earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes
12:7). The physical body is buried in the ground (“the dust will
return to the earth”), but the spirit of the believer “returns to God
who gave it.” When Rachel died, the Bible says, “And so it was, as her
soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni” (Genesis
35:18). Based on other verses in the Bible, the departing of Rachel’s soul
implies her soul (and spirit) departed to go be with the Lord in Abraham’s
bosom or Paradise (Luke 16:22; 23:43).
Just before Jesus died on the cross, He cried out with a loud
voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Then “He
breathed His last’ (Luke 23:46). John writes, “bowing His head, He gave
up His spirit” (John 19:30). Jesus’ spirit went to His Father in heaven when
He died, and so does a believer’s spirit after the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ. For example, while he was being stoned in Acts 7, Stephen prayed,
“ ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’Then he knelt down
and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’
And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Now Saul was consenting to his
death.” (Acts 7:59-8:1). It is clear that when Stephen died, he
understood that his spirit would go to be with the Lord.
When the Bible says Stephen “fell asleep” (Acts 7:60), it is referring to Stephen’s “death” (Acts 8:1). The words “asleep” or “sleep” are common metaphors for death of the physical body in distinction from the spirit or soul (Acts 7:60; cf. John 11:11-13; I Thess. 4:14-16). John 11:11-13 makes this very clear. Jesus tells His disciples, “ ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.” John 11:11-13. Death is not a state of unconsciousness as some teach. A dead body appears to look like a person who is sleeping.
Similarly, in I Thessalonians 4:13-17, the apostle Paul
writes about the sudden removal of the church from the earth called the Rapture
which could take place at any moment. “13 But I do not want you
to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you
sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus
died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and
remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are
asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the
dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the
air.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17). When Paul speaks of “those who have
fallen asleep” he is referring to Christians who have died. Their physical
bodies are asleep in the grave (cf. John 11:11-14), but their spirit and soul
have gone to be with the Lord Jesus in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians
1:21-24; Revelation 6:9; 20:4; cf. Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).
This is why Paul writes, “6 So we are always
confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the
Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are
confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be
present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. Paul refers to death as his
spirit and soul being “absent from the body” and “present with the
Lord” in heaven (5:8). There is no intermediate existence. We are either “at
home in the body” (5:6) or “present with the Lord” (5:8). There is
no mention of some other kind of existence in between being at home in the body
or present with the Lord.
In Philippians 1:21-24, Paul writes, “21
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live
on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I
cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a
desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24
Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” For Paul,
death “is gain” because he (his spirit/soul) will “depart and be with
Christ, which is far better” than living “on in the flesh.” Where is
Christ right now? He is in heaven at the right hand of God the Father (Acts
5:31; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrew 1:3, 13; 8:1;
10:12; 12:2; I Peter 3:22).
We also see that the souls of believers also go to heaven. “When
He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been
slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” Revelation
6:9. When Jesus opened the fifth seal judgment, the apostle John says he
saw under the altar in heaven the “souls” of believers who were martyred
during the Tribulation on earth.
At the beginning of the Millennium, the thousand year reign
of Christ on earth, the apostle John writes, “And I saw thrones, and they
sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those
who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who
had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on
their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a
thousand years.” Revelation 20:4. The “souls” of martyred believers
from the Tribulation are seen reigning with Christ during His Millennial
Kingdom on earth.
A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH IN LUKE
We are going to look at a factual account that Jesus shared
in Luke 16:19-31 to discover more details about what happens when we die.
Some people believe this is a parable – (a made up story to illustrate
spiritual truth) because they do not like what it teaches about the afterlife. But
here are some compelling reasons why Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable:
1. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes
certain things that are outside of the realm of human experience. All the other
parables talk about things that we are familiar with such as birds, seed,
fields, pearls, wheat, barns, leaven, fish, etc. (see Matthew 13, etc.). This
passage is different because it talks about what happens to two men after
death, and this is a realm where none of us have had any personal experience. A
parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual significance, but Luke
16 transcends the realm of the earthly.
2. It would be the only parable in the Bible that uses a
proper name (“Lazarus”).
3. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes
mention repeatedly of an historical person – “Abraham.” Moreover, this
historical person actually carries on a dialogue with the rich man! Indeed,
mention is also made in this parable of “Moses,” another historical
character. What other parable speaks of
real, historical persons?
4. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes
the places where the dead go (“Torments in Hades,” and “Abraham’s bosom”).
5. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes
mention of angels. Compare Matthew 13 verses 24-30, 36-43, 47-49 where angels
are mentioned in the explanation of the parable but not in the parable itself.
6. If Hades is not really a place of torment then this would
be the only parable in the Bible where the Lord Jesus taught error instead of
truth. This is not possible because Jesus is “the truth”
(John 14:6). This passage is factual, not fictional.
Before we go any further, I want to clarify one more thing.
This passage is not talking about the final destination of people. The place of
unbelievers we will consider in Luke 16 is not the Lake of Fire (Revelation 14:10;
20:10-15) or the everlasting fire of Hell (Matthew 10:28; 23:33; 25:41, 46b; Mark
9:42-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 14:10; 20:10, 15). The Lake of Fire or
Hell is where people who don’t believe in Jesus will go for eternity after the
Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:10-15). The place in
Luke 16:22b-26 is “Torments in Hades” where lost people go when they
die. It is a temporary holding area of torment and suffering for the Old and
New Testament unbeliever. But it is not purgatory.
Before Jesus died on the cross, believers in Jesus went to a place called “Paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom”(Luke 16:22; 23:43) and unbelievers went to a place called “Torments” in Hades (Luke 16:23). When Jesus died on the cross, He released the souls and spirits of believers in Abraham’s bosom (Ephesians 4:8-10) to go to God’s home in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4; cf. John 14:2).
Prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, Old Testament believers could not go to the third heaven because Jesus’ blood had not removed all their sins yet. The Old Testament sacrifices had only covered their sins, not removed their sins (cf. Hebrews 9:9-10; 10:1-4, 11). Only the blood of the Lamb of God could take away their sins forever (John 1:29; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13-18; Hebrews 9:11-15; 10:10-22). After Christ’s death and resurrection, when a believer in Jesus dies, his spirit and soul go to the third heaven to be with Jesus while his physical body sleeps in the grave (cf. John 11:11-13; I Thessalonians 4:14, 16).
But when an unbeliever dies, his or her spirit and
soul go straight to Torments in Hades where they stay until they are called out
to face God at the Great White Throne Judgment where they are judged
according to their works to determine their degree of punishment in the Lake of
Fire (Revelation 20:11-14). Then they will be confined to the Lake of Fire or
Hell forever with Satan and his fallen angels (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10,
Back to Luke 16. There are two main characters in Jesus’
factual account. The “rich man” (Luke 16:19) who represents unbelievers and
a poor man named “Lazarus” (Luke 16:20) who represents believers. Let’s
look at what happened to them when they died.
How was Lazarus greeted at death? Even though Lazarus had
been alone much of his life, he “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s
bosom” or “Paradise” (Luke 16:22a; cf. Luke 23:43) where he would
enjoy fellowship with Old Testament believers such as “Abraham” who were
there. So God’s angels received Lazarus and took him to dwell in Paradise with
the Lord. Lazarus did not die alone. He died in the presence of God. Lazarus’
spirit and soul did not linger on earth for a period of days or weeks. His
spirit and soul were taken immediately to Paradise to be with the Lord. There
was no unconscious sleep as some religious groups teach.
Lazarus’ experience after death was the opposite of his
experience on earth. In Abraham’s bosom or Paradise, Lazarus experienced
intimate fellowship with Abraham – “Lazarus” was “in his bosom”
or close to him (Luke 16:23). But on earth Lazarus was all alone (Luke
16:20-21). On earth he received “evil things,” but in Paradise he was “comforted”
How was the rich man greeted at death? “The rich man also
died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and
saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:22b-23). The rich
man was alone at death – no family or friends. When he died, his spirit and
soul went immediately to “torments in Hades.” Let’s look at his
experiences there after death.
1. He experiences sensation. “And being in torments in Hades,
he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:23). The
rich man is not unconscious. He can see
(“he lifted up his eyes and saw…”), he can hear as shown in his
conversation with Abraham, he can speak (“he cried and said…” – Luke
16:24a), he can feel (“I am tormented in this flame” – Luke 16:24b). The
rich man still has desires, he still has needs, and he still has the ability to
think and express himself. He was able to see into Paradise and realize what he
was missing out on. Did he feel pain? “Then he cried and said, ‘Father
Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his
finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame’” (Luke
16:24). Yes, he begged for relief from the torment of the flames. People
will not party in torments, they will cry out for relief from their pain. Even
though his body is in the grave in which it was buried, this man has some sort
of a spiritual form that allows him to continue to live in this place called torments
2. He experiences separation. We also notice
that the rich man found himself separated from Lazarus and Abraham by a great
gulf. Abraham said to the rich man, “between us and you there is a great
gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can
those from there pass to us” (Luke 16:26). The Bible says that this gulf is
“fixed.” That is, it will never be taken away. This separation
from God and unbelievers is eternal! The rich man found himself separated from
everything that Lazarus enjoyed. Could he cross over this gulf or could anyone
come visit him? No. Once you go to torments, no one can get you out. There is
no second chance after death. The Bible makes this clear. “Everyone must die
once, and after that be judged by God.” Hebrews 9:27 [GNT]. So there is no
halfway house between heaven and torments. There is no intermediate state.
There is no limbo. There is no purgatory. Purgatory is a theory that was
created during the Middle Ages. It is not found in the Bible.
In torments you will be all alone without family, friends, and
worst of all – you will be without God. Torments
or Hell is total separation from God. If you go through all of life saying, “I
don’t want God in my life” He will give you that wish forever in torments
and the Lake of Fire. Second Thessalonians 1:9 says, “These shall be
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from
the glory of His power.” Torments and the Lake of Fire are the exact
opposite of everything God is.
Since “God is love” (I John 4:8b), without God, Hell
is a terrifying and lonely place. You are all alone! So there’s no love there. The Bible says, “There is
no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves
torment” (I John 4:18). The opposite of love is fear. You know what it
means to live without love in your life? It means you are scared to death all
the time. That is hell. It means you are lonely all the time. That is hell. One
of the big myths about hell is that in hell it is just going to be a big party
for all the people who like to party. Friends, no one will see anybody else in
hell. It is total separation from God and everybody else. There are no
relationships in hell. There are no friends in hell. It is total aloneness.
Since God is light (I John 1:5), hell is complete darkness (2 Peter
2:17; Jude 1:13). Since God is good (Psalm 34:8), there will be absolutely
nothing good in hell. Since God is eternal life (John 1:1, 4, 14; 14:6; I John
5:20), that means hell will be eternal death. Since God is gracious
(Psalm 145:8), that means there is no place for grace in Hell.
3. He experiencesintensesuffering. The noun “torments“
(basanos) means to be tested or examined by means of torture (Luke 16:23). The rich
man is in a place of extreme pain and torture. The verb “tormented”
(odynáō)is in the
present tense (Luke 16:24) and means to cause intense pain. This teaches us
that the intense pain and suffering in this dreadful place do not cease. People
do not simply burn up and no longer exist as some false religions teach, but
they endure this intense pain and torture forever. The rich man wants to die or
at least lose consciousness, but he cannot.
Of all the agonies of torments, perhaps the worst one of all is described
in verse 25. “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in
your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things;
but now he is comforted and you are tormented’ ” (Luke 16:25). The word “remember” tells us that people
in torments have the capacity to remember the events of this life and that they
are forced to deal with those memories eternally. They will remember every
gospel message they heard and rejected. They will remember how God manifested
Himself in thousands of ways to draw them to Himself. They will remember and
they will know that they have no one to blame for their situation but
If you have never trusted in Jesus as your Savior to give you
everlasting life, I wonder what you will remember when you arrive
in torments? Will you remember this message? Will you remember all the
Christians who witnessed to you and prayed for you? Will you remember how you
wasted your life on temporary things and condemned your own spirit and soul to
the torment and torture of hell forever? Will you remember how good and
gracious God was to you and how you rejected His great love for you?
The rich man said to Abraham, “I beg you
therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify
to them, lest they also come to this place of torment (Luke 16:27-28). The rich man wanted
Lazarus to be sent back to his family to warn them of the terrible suffering of
torments. Nobody in torments wants their family and friends to join them there
because the suffering and pain is so great. In fact, those in torments want to
do all they can to warn those they care about not to join them there. Yet there
is nothing they can do about it! This, too, is a form of suffering in torments.
4. He experiences stubbornness. Amazingly torments is filled with
stubborn people. Abraham said to the rich man regarding his family, “29
They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And
he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will
repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the
prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
(Luke 16:29-31). Jesus us is
teaching us that people have all the truth they need in the Bible (“Moses
and the prophets”) to avoid going to hell, so sending someone back from the
dead would be useless. Even in torments, the rich man still hasn’t figured out
what it takes to keep a man from that awful place. He stubbornly begs for the
salvation of his family, and won’t hear the truth that they must hear God’s
word and “repent” which means to change their mind about whatever is
keeping them from trusting in Christ, and then trust in Him to take them to
heaven. Even in torments, the rich man is totally unchanged. There is still no
willingness to do things necessary to leave – the rich man does not even ask to
get out. These verses tell us that even when people find themselves in the pain
and suffering of hell, they are still lost and they still have no room for God
in their lives.
SPIRIT AND SOUL REUNITED WITH THE BODY AT THE RESURRECTION
Old and New Testament unbelievers’ souls and spirits will re-enter
their resurrected bodies at the end of the thousand years reign of Christ on
earth to stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. “11 Then I saw a
great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the
heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And
I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books
were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of
Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things
which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the
dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in
them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death
and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And
anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of
fire.” Revelation 20:11-15.
The apostle John “saw the [unbelieving] dead [of all
ages], small and great, standing before God [in their resurrection
bodies which are eternal], and the books [containing all their works] were
opened” so they could be “judged according to their works” to
determined their degree of punishment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12;
cf. Matt. 11:20-24; 23:14; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47). Those like the Devil, the
Beast of Revelation, the False Prophet, and other false teachers will no doubt
experience greater punishment for misleading people away from God (Revelation
20:10; cf. Matthew 11:20-24; 23:14; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47; 2 Peter 2:1-17;
“The sea … Death and Hades [temporary holding place of the spirits and souls of dead unbelievers until the great white throne judgment] delivered up [resurrected] fromthe dead [unbelievers] who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” before the great white throne (20:13). Notice that whether their bodies are decomposed in the sea or in the ground or cremated or vaporized, God will raise up their bodies to stand before His Great White Throne.
As a result of this Great White Throne judgment, all the unsaved dead [“Death”] and “Hades” will be “cast into the lake of fire” which “is the second death” (20:14). Everyone who dies without believing in Christ alone for everlasting life is “not found written in the Book of Life” and will “be cast into the lake of fire” where they will be tormented forever along with Satan and all his fallen angels (Revelation 20:15; cf. 20:10; Matthew 25:41).
The resurrection of Old and New Testament believers in Jesus Christ
will take place at different times. The first time, will be at the Rapture or
sudden removal of the church at any moment when the spirits and souls of
Christians who have died will return with Jesus from heaven in the air to
re-enter their resurrected bodies permanently. The apostle Paul writes, “14
For if we believe that
Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those
who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the
Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the
Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the
Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an
archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will
rise first.” I Thessalonians 4:14-16.
Christians who are alive at the
time of the Rapture will receive their glorified bodies as the are reunited in
the air with Jesus. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall
always be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:17. Paul alludes to this in I
Corinthians 15. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.For this corruptible
must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality.” I Corinthians 15:52-53. The phrase “we will be changed” refers to
living Christians at the time of the Rapture who will receive their glorified
The next time
when believers’ spirits and souls are reunited with their resurrection bodies
will be at the beginning of the Millennium, the thousand year reign of
Christ on the earth after the Tribulation period (Revelation 20:4-6). At
the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, all who
possess eternal life through faith in Christ are all resurrected by this time including
Old Testament believers (Daniel 11:45-12:2)
and Tribulation believers who died (Revelation 20:4). In Matthew
25:31-46 we are told that when Christ returns to earth at the end of the
Tribulation period, He will judge the Gentile nations. In this judgment, those believers who survived the Tribulation,
will enter the Christ’s Millennial Kingdom in their mortal bodies (Matthew
Where will you live after you die? The Bible
tells us that all people will live forever after death in one of two places: either in Heaven with Jesus Christ (John
14:2-3) or in the Lake of Fire (Hell) separated from Jesus forever (Matthew
25:41; Revelation 20:15). Do you want to live forever in Heaven with Jesus?
If so, you need to realize the Bible says you have a problem called sin (Romans
3:23). The penalty for sin is death or separation from God forever in a
terrible place of agonizing suffering called the Lake of Fire or Hell (Matthew 10:28;
23:33; 25:41, 46b; Mark 9:42-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 14:10; 20:10, 15).
Please understand that God loves you and He does not want you
to suffer forever in Hell (John 3:16; I Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). This
is why He sent His only perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to die in your place on a
cross and rise from the dead, proving that He is God (Romans 1:3-4; I
Corinthians 15:3-8). Jesus is alive today and He offers you everlasting life as
a free gift (Romans 6:23b). Christ invites you to “believe in Him” to “have
everlasting life” both now and forever (John 3:16; 6:40, 47; 11:25-26).
Jesus promises that the moment you “hear” and “believe”
His promise of everlasting life, you now have “everlasting life” and “shall
not come into judgement” for your sins because you have “passed from
death into life” (John 5:24). Christ also guarantees that when you die, your
soul and spirit will go immediately to heaven to live with Him forever (John 14:2-3;
2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21, 23) and eventually be reunited with your
resurrection body when Jesus returns for His Church (I Corinthians 15:35-57; I
The person who never believes in Jesus “is condemned already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John
3:18). God’s wrath abides on him now and forever. “He who does not
believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John
3:36). When the unbeliever dies, his soul and spirit go to torments in
Hades (Luke 16:23) until he is resurrected to stand before the Great White
Throne Judgment where he will be judged according to his works to determine the
degree of his punishment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). And then he
(spirit, soul, and body) will be confined to the Lake of Fire where he will be
tormented forever (Matthew 10:28; 23:33; 25:41, 46b; Mark 9:42-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation
14:10; 20:10, 15).