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New Believer: Eternity

Life After Death

The concept of eternity is hard for us to understand. A way to think about eternity is by imagining a measuring tape that represents your existence. The first six inches of the measuring tape represents your life here on earth. But the measuring tape does not stop there. Instead, it is wrapped around the Earth several times, thousands and thousands of miles and finally ends at your feet. If the first six inches represent your time here on earth, the remainder of the measuring tape is a representation of our eternal existence.

The truth is our life on Earth is a short breath compared to eternity (James 4:14). We often get so carried away with quality of life in those 'first six inches' that we forget about the quality of life in the 'thousands of miles' after. The reality is every life on earth comes to an end. The physical body dies either gradually or suddenly. When we die, our body will deteriorate in the Earth, but our soul will remain ( 2 Corinthians 5:8-9). The question is: What happens to the soul?

Heaven and Hell

The Bible teaches about two eternal destinations for the soul. Heaven or Hell. Heaven will be a place where the soul is with God. Since God is pure, sin won't be allowed in heaven. Heaven then is prepared for those who have turned from their sin (Mark 1:15) and believed in the Gospel (John 14:2-6). The absence of sin will also mean the absence of tears, pain, and sorrow (Revelation 21:4). This will make heaven a place full of joy and peace with God.

Hell is said to be a place of suffering. The Bible often relates Hell to a 'lake of fire', prepared for Satan and his followers (Matthew 25:41). Those who reject Jesus as being Lord of their lives and do not have their name written in the Book of Life will join Satan in a place of eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:15).

The Renewal of the Body

Believers in Jesus Christ view the Earth as a temporary home because the soul's resting place is in heaven. Jesus will return one day in great power to overthrow sin and to make all things new. All physical bodies, whether dead or alive, will be raised by Jesus when he returns (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  The bodies of believers will be made new and will no longer wear out because they will be eternal (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). Our struggle with sin will finally come to an end, making the future very hopeful for those who have put their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Living Today in Light of Eternity

This hope for the future helps the believer to live each day in light of eternity (Colossians 3:1-2). Their perspective shifts from valuing materialistic riches to heavenly riches. Money, success, and fame will pass away, but the things of heaven will last forever. There are many today who do not have a relationship with Jesus, and will spend an eternity in hell as a result. This should ignite a passion to spread the Gospel so that we may see the hearts of those around us united with their Creator. We carry this hope of eternal life, allowing it to encourage and empower us every single day.