How To Prepare For Eternity Now And Face Death With Confidence Later
How do you prepare for eternity? Recently my friend Gary Poling died quite suddenly. Two days ago I led his memorial service. Carolyn and I have now both lost our parents. More and more we’re feeling old and “next up” for facing death and passing on to the other side.
Our parents—Stewart & Kay Fox and Claude & Barbara Williams,
But then what?
I hear people saying that when they die they will go to a “better place.” But on what basis do they believe they will go to that better place? Often it seems their hope is based simply on their wishful thinking.
How can we know for sure what will happen when we die? May I suggest that you base belief on some authority other than your wishful thinking? For many reasons, some of which I share in my article “4 Reasons You Can Love and Trust the Bible Today,” the authority ought to be God’s written Word: the Bible.
The Bible tells us that we can prepare for eternity now and face death with confidence later. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13 ESV)
Notice the word “know” in this verse. Not hope, but know!
To help you prepare for eternity, let me share that God tells us in the Bible that when we die one of two things will happen:
1.We Will Go to Heaven
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Jesus clearly states here that we can cross over from death to eternal life—and elsewhere the Bible says that we will be in a place called heaven.
The Apostle Paul was so confident in God’s promise that he wrote: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. We are confident; I say and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 8)
The “earthly tent we live in” is our body. Part of the reason camping is fun is because it makes us long for the comforts of home! After we have spent time camping in a tent, we look forward to:
A hot shower
An air conditioner or heater
A soft bed
God promises that when our “tent” is destroyed, we can go to our eternal home in heaven – a fantastic future!
The believer in Jesus does not need to fear death.
The other option is not so wonderful:
2.We Will Go to Hell
This is certainly not an enjoyable topic! But it would be terribly wrong to avoid the issue and allow others to go there simply because it is unpleasant to discuss.
Imagine an armed gunman at your local mall was randomly shooting, wounding and killing people. If we knew this was happening, wouldn’t we feel compelled to warn others headed there? It would be immoral not to warn people.
Jesus said, “Then he [the Lord Jesus Himself as judge] will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41, 46)
Jesus is saying here that there will be “eternal punishment.” Elsewhere the Bible describes it as:
People may think they will meet their friends in Hell. But, in fact, there will be only loneliness.
This is why Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
Who will go to hell? The answer is “all who are guilty.”
And who is guilty? The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) All means all, everyone. In other words, our natural state is outside of heaven.
John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Our sins condemn us. But here is the Good News: God in His great love made an enormous sacrifice by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. We can prepare today for eternity, and be certain of what will happen when our time on earth is up.
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NLT)
There are two parts in salvation described in this verse.
It says “you will be saved” if:
“you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord”
That is, to make an honest verbal confession that Jesus is the “boss” of your life.
”you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead”
Why not prepare for eternity today and pray the following prayer:
“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins and rising from the dead. Please forgive my sins. I receive your gift of salvation and eternal life. Come into my life, take control of my life and help me to live for you. Amen.”
It is important to let others know of your decision. If you would like to let me know, please use the “Contact Me” tab at the top of this website.