Every year around 56 million people die. That’s over 150,000 per day, around 6,300 per hour, and approximately 100 people per minute. The ultimate statistic is that 10 out of 10 people die. But what next? Where next? The Bible explains that when our bodies are buried or burnt, our souls (the real person inside) continue to exist. It also tells us of two potential places where we may spend eternity.
A Place of Punishment: Hell
When an offender is found guilty of breaking the law, it would be wrong for the judge to send them to a luxury hotel as a reward. They should be sent to prison, in order to be punished. That’s justice.
The Bible says that “after death comes the judgement”. God will be the Judge. Our lives will be assessed according to His law, the 10 commandments. The evidence of our sin will be presented from records kept in Heaven. The verdict is certain, we’re all guilty before God.
For God to allow us into Heaven, having been found guilty, would be a great miscarriage of justice. Our sin demands punishment. The Bible calls the place of punishment, Hell. It is a place of everlasting isolation, darkness, pain and suffering.
God’s desire is that none of us should end up in that awful place. Mercifully, He has provided a way of escape by sending His Son to save us. On the cross Jesus took our punishment. He experienced the isolation, darkness, pain and suffering that we deserved. God can now spare us from Hell on the basis that someone else has paid for our crimes. But only if we accept His offer by turning from our sin and trusting in Jesus.
A Place of Paradise: Heaven
When we turn from sin and trust in Jesus, God immediately wipes clean the record of our sins and drops all the charges against us. On the day of judgement there is nothing for us to pay. Jesus paid it all upon the cross!
With our sins forgiven, we are fit to enter into a place of paradise which the Bible calls Heaven.
The Bible says that in Heaven, “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, neither will there be any more pain.”
The journey of life can often be difficult, but Christians take heart in the comforting assurance that the road leads home to Heaven.
A Place of Preparation: Here
The Bible is clear that there are only two places in which we can spend the afterlife. The concept of an in between place, or a ‘waiting room’ called purgatory is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
Rather, the place of preparation is here on earth. Our sin and rebellion against God places us on the road to ruin. To escape the terrible prospect of Hell we must accept God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He Himself said “I am the door, by me if anyone enters in, they will be saved.” It is through Jesus alone that we can enter into Heaven at the end of life’s journey.