Monday, December 16, 2013

Is There Hope For Me?? Questions from a Concerned Heart

What happens to us after we die? Is there a Heaven and Hell? If so, what are they like? Is Hell fire and Heaven paradise? Is there a judgement place?

Nobody is perfect, but I try to be right and do right, I believe in God and I try to follow the golden rule and treat people like I want to be treated, however, I'm not too proud of some of the things I've done in the past - and death scares me because of this. - I don't like pain or suffering, especially if it's for an eternity! 

These are good questions .. since God operates only in absolute truth, and is also the Author of all truth, it is important that we are honest and truthful with ourselves (our thoughts and our questions) before we try to approach God or the things of God. Too many people ask questions that they don't really mean in order to mask what is really going on in their heart .. even if those questions could be answered, they would do no good.

I feel that Hebrews chapter 9 would answer a lot of these questions.  While it would be good to read the whole chapter I want to highlight the portion of the chapter ... 

Heb 9:24-28 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. 

God created us according to His perfect will for us.  Death was never to be a part of our existence because we are immortal. This body will fail, because of sin, but our soul will remain.  It will not get a new fleshly body per say ... but we will receive a spiritual body.

1Co 15:38  But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40  There are also celestial (spiritual) bodies and terrestrial (fleshly, natural) bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41  There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
43  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45  And so it is written, "THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

As per your questions about hell ... there are verses about the reality and difference of heaven and hell.
Check these out:

Matt 13:40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 

Matt 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." 

Matt 22:13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." 

Luke 13:23 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" And He said to them, 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' 27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last." 

There will be a separating concerning whether people will go to heaven and hell. ... the notion that God can love without being just is flawed ... perfect love can only come through perfect justice ... and in atoning for our sin, He showed us His love for us.

Rom 5:8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.Heaven and hell are not given much attention perspective to what they are like as to the extreme amount of attention given concerning how a person will go to one or the other.

This we know ... Heaven is where God is and there we will always have unlimited access to His presence.  There will be no more illness, no more pain, hurt, disease ... our bodies will be spiritual bodies, incapable of flaw.  Heaven is what we were created for ... to live infinitely.  Paradise, the place where the Jews went to wait prior to the Messiah, is now in heaven ... heaven is not paradise ... heaven is most appropriately being in the presence of God.

Hell is the absence of God.  If heaven is a place of perpetual joy where God wipes away every tear, then hell is the antijoy.  We know there will be a lake of fire and there will be great torments.  We know that it will be great loneliness ... the notion that one will be surrounded by his or her friends is foolishness.

So what happens when we die ... we don't really know all of the details.  Anyone who says they do ... are misinformed at best.  No one has ever come back and told us. We do have a glimpse into eternity thanks to Jesus' teaching about Lazarus and the rich man. (Luke 16:19-31).  There is also the various depictions in the book of Revelations.  Additionally, there are some personal accounts of visions of heaven and hell ... but it is important to remember that no human alive, beside John the Apostle, has ever seen heaven unbridled ... and he was not able to explain what he saw.  All of the books written are shades and pieces ... all should be weighed with the Bible.  Weigh the testimony, weigh the life lived by the person speaking ... weigh it all to the Scriptures ... if it flies, swims, waddles, quacks, and looks like a duck, then it's a duck.  But if it was not hatched from an egg ... it's merely a cheap copy ... and impersonator.  It's all or none.

When we die, we will go to one or the other.  In the story of the rich man and Lazarus (mentioned above) the rich man was already in torments ... in flames ... and the Great Judgment has not yet occurred.  What the process is, no one can know ... it's too great for us to fathom.  "Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." There will be a judgment for all humans ... there is a judgment side to God ... and His justice is perfect.  We are told of two judgments humans will pass through in the afterlife: The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10) and the Great White Throne of Judgment (Rev 20:11).  There is great debate whether the two are the same or if they are two different judgments, one for the Christians and the other for unbelievers.  Some believe that since the context of 2 Cor 5 is written strictly to believers, it is only for believers in determining the validity of their work in Christ (1 Cor 3:12-14; Luke 12:43-48).  The Great White Throne of Judgment is definitely where the separation is drawn between the saved and the damned ... it is where the Book of Life is called upon ... so I am inclined to say we must all pass through that.  Whether they are the same or not isn't as relevant as whether or not our name is in the Book.  It is extremely important to note, however, that the work of believers will be tested and accounted for ... we must pay attention to our motives!!

In Christ, there is nothing to be afraid of bc He pays the righteousness debt ... I would strongly urge anyone to accept that offer today.
2Co 6:1  We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2  For He says: "IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 

How does one get saved?  

Rom 10:9  ... if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

It's simple ... surrender the right to live your life anyway you want to and accept the complete life designed just for you in Jesus Christ.  This is not a promise of ease or lavish living is a promise of righteousness earned by Jesus ... honoring His sacrifice for you ... it is the bridge returning you to the originally designed relationship with God ... you as His child ... able to walk with Him.

John 3:16  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. 

No believer has to fear death, because in Christ, that is the end of the bad and the beginning of the eternal good!

1Co 15:51  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52  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. 53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY." 55  "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING? O HADES, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?" 56  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Let HIM do His work in you!!! I urge you. 

This was a great group of questions!!  Thank you for sharing your concerns.  I hope you find what I have found, what so many have found ... and what is offered freely for everyone!

That's my take anyways!!!  Feel free to add your thoughts...that's the purpose!!
Don't be confused.  LEARN STUFF!!!
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  1. This is important teaching, Patrick. I am now reading John MacArthur's book "The Glory of Heaven". Too much emphasis in the church on our destiny in this life, our god-given right to personal prosperity, and the noise of worldly success has obscured this great message of the promise of Heaven. Keep up your blogging. For such a time as this are we saved by the finished work of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.

    1. Thank you for you encouraging words. I am always excited to see other believers voicing the same message ... our voice sometimes gets drowned in the chorus of the secularized church ... but God is not fooled, and most good intending people who read and study for themselves are seeing what is happening. I feel it is very important to provide good info to see the truth through the mess. God's Word is simple ... the Gospel is simple ... it was entrusted to simple men. I am a John MacArthur fan myself. Thanks again for the input ... always love it.