What happens to us when we die? This may take a couple of days, so bear with me.
(21) For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths.
The question is, if we do not live beyond the grave, then why does it matter to God? Let’s go back to chapter 4 and look at a passage:
(18) The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (19) But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
God is eternal. He is outside of time. One of His characteristics is Omnipresence, which is to be everywhere at once, including the timeline. If we follow verse 18 to its logical conclusion, it would be for the righteous to stand in His presence–outside of time, or, in eternity, which is beyond the grave.
Looking at verse 19, we see the same end for the wicked as we do with the adulterous woman in verses 3-6 of chapter 5:
(3) For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; (4) but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. (5) Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (6) She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
How do we know that we will live beyond the grave? Let’s go back to the beginning–I mean, the literal beginning.
(27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
(7) Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
We were created with a spirit, something that no other part of creation has. It is the part that is in the image of God. Solomon wrote, ““The dust [of his body] returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 Our spirits are eternal just as God is eternal.
The problem comes with our choice to sin. Because of Adam, we are born without the connection to the Holy Spirit. That connection must come by individual choice. In the meantime, we do what we naturally do, we sin. If we never connect to the Holy Spirit, we are considered wicked and go down to the grave and eventually to the lake of fire–which was not created for us, but for Satan and his horde (see Rev. 20:14-15).
We who connect with the Holy Spirit by receiving Christ’s sacrifice in our place on the cross and turning our lives completely over to Him for direction, sustenance, and life itself, are promised eternal life with Jesus in heaven–and it starts the moment the Spirit enters us!
(9) You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (10) But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of [His] righteousness. (11) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:9-11
His Spirit is a deposit, a guarantee, of eternal life (2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5).
So, what happens to us when we die? We get to go be with Jesus:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
Tuesday, we will look that the passages that describe the event of dying–or, more accurately, being translated.
Abba, may we put our faith and trust in You for eternal life. May Your Spirit give us faith based on the Word, Your Word. We know it’s true because we have You living in our hearts! No one can deny our relationship with You! Our experience with You is based upon our knowledge of You. Help us to know you better and to experience You more deeply. Amen.