How can someone know for certain that when they die, they will be with the Creator, our Lord Jesus Christ?
Death is all around us. Even during all the lying about lockdowns, people are getting sick with the Wuhan Virus and dying, they are becoming hopeless and taking their own lives, they are mistreating themselves and dying before their time, and all while all the other reasons for dying are still doing their devastating work.
For me, I am very aware that I am closer to my finish line than ever, and that I could be run over by a deadly life-experience even before that doomsday. The realization that the human mortality rate is 100% leaves a horribly crushing weight of hopelessness that anyone will ever avoid the cursed experience of death.
Which means that my life-experience must prove to me with an absolute guarantee that what comes after physical death is life.
I take no comfort from those who claim that existence ends at death so we have nothing to worry about. I am not the least bit encouraged by people who claim that we will keep reincarnating until we get it right. None of that adds up.
I do not want to take my chances on some “good works” strategy that if I just make sure I have one more good works than bad works the holy and magnificent God who created us will be happy with us! How could that ever be possible?!
And, I most certainly do not want to place my faith in the evolutionary religion demanding that everything came from nothing, that nothing could explode into the building blocks of a universe, that non-living things could magically morphe into living things, and we will just turn back to nothing when we die!
Nope! There is something inside me far too alive to believe that unscientific nonsense!
Here is God’s simple declaration of how to have assurance that death is followed by genuine and eternal life with our Creator:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Picture a person named Someone hearing the good news about Jesus Christ. They hear that he is the Word of God who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. He went everywhere doing good to people, healing their diseases, and driving out their demons. What an amazing guy!
But then Someone is led to the scene of history where this sinless man laid down his life in the most humbling expression of love possible. On one side, he willingly suffered the horrible death of crucifixion, demonstrating how far he would go to take their place. On the other side, while in the agonies of crucifixion, he was bearing on himself the full outpouring of the wrath of God against their sins.
This begins to stir a wonder in Someone’s soul as they acknowledge that no one has ever expressed love to them like that. They know what it is like to suffer at the hands of others, often unjustly, but not what someone would suffer for them to the extent of bearing the full justice of God against their own sins!
And then they hear this wonderful news that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in complete victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave! They suddenly find in themselves this tugging awareness that they want to know this person. They want to know what it is like to be in friendship with this Savior who not only suffered death in the most horrible ways both physically and spiritually, but also had the power of God raise him from the dead.
Which captivates Someone’s heart and mind with the wonder that they could know the only living Savior. They could personally know this Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus the Christ, Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords.
However, as Someone begins taking steps towards the Savior King, they suddenly feel this overwhelming awareness of how utterly sinful they are in contrast to the purity and holiness of Jesus’ love and righteousness. They become crushingly aware that there is no good thing in them by which they could justify the right to be his servant, let alone his friend, or, unthinkably, his Brother!
And in that devastating awareness of the hopelessness of their sin, they hear Jesus’ words from the cross: “It is FINISHED!!!!!!!” And in those words, they realize that this was exactly why Jesus died, to fully deal with their sin. He dealt with the crime of it, the offensiveness of it, the guilt, shame and fear of it, the hopelessness of it, the crushing weight of its taunting promise to take them down, and the justice that demands their death in payment. His death in body, soul and spirit, paid it all!
And while they struggle to believe that this was for them, they hear the words of God telling them that “Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE sinners!” They hear the “good news of great joy” that there is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!” They understand that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and their hearts blossom under the light of such love.
And then Someone hears the words of Jesus himself calling out to them, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest for your souls!” In that instant, they know in their heart that Jesus wants them. Jesus died for them. Jesus lives for them. Jesus has already saved them.
With their minds all changed-up about their sin so that they now hate what they once loved, and their hearts convinced that Jesus’ victory over sin and death is their own victory over sin and death, they receive for themselves the gift of eternal life by putting their faith in this Savior. They confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord who came to save them, and they believe in their heart that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead in a masterful stroke of divine genius to give them a Savior who died and yet lives.
When Someone receives this gift of eternal life, they enter the realities of God the Father, of the Son of God as Firstborn Brother, and the Holy Spirit of God crying out in them and with them, “Abba! Father!” They know that something inside them is now more alive than before, and that the life they may very well lose in death has already been overcome with the greater life that will never end.
So, when God’s Book assures them, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” they realize that the faith they have now, that wasn’t there before, is the everlasting Guarantee that they have eternal life. Their name has been engraved onto the hands of the Savior. Their sins have been blotted out of God’s Book of judgment and their names already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Someone takes to heart what an Older Brother told them a long time earlier: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” They now have a temporal life that is worth living because of the God who has made a home with them, and they have an eternal life waiting for them on the other side of death that is a gain instead of a loss.
No matter what storms of life come, or what threats of death arise, Someone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ has the guarantee of eternal life because of the certainty of what Jesus has already done. And even when life-circumstances feel the most crushing, to simply see that the one thing they keep clinging to is faith in Jesus Christ assures them that they are more than conquerors in their Savior already, and that they will enter into the fullness of Jesus’ joy on the day that death takes them home.
As you read this good news, God’s invites you to be the Someone who experiences this mind-change about your sin, believes in Jesus Christ for salvation, enters the kingdom of God forever, and begins walking in the newness of life. I became a Someone in God’s story a long time ago. Anyone reading this can become a Someone to God today.
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)