Life after death – Does it really exist?
The age-old question, "Is there life after death?" has been pondered around the world in every culture and religious tradition. A variety of responses have been given, ranging from no afterlife to many lives through reincarnation, and have often included numerous accounts of near-death experiences to provide evidence for such claims.
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A look at the Bible's teachings reveals a very specific explanation regarding the continuation of the human soul after death. When Jesus spoke regarding Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31, He specifically noted that the rich man was in immediate, ongoing suffering, while Lazarus existed in immediate, lasting joy.
What determines whether a person spends eternity in heaven or hell? According to Scripture, the difference is faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:16 shares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." This eternal life comes by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
How can you believe in Jesus and receive eternal life in heaven after death? Romans 10:9 teaches, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Here we find that we must believe Jesus is Lord and that He came alive again after His death on the cross. When we do, we receive Him into our lives and become a child of God (John 1:12).
In addition to eternal life with the Lord in heaven, He also provides new life now for those who trust in Him. In John 10:10 Jesus taught, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." First Peter 1:8-9 speaks of the glorious joy we can have as believers in Jesus: "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
Romans 5:8 teaches, "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This great love brought Jesus from heaven to earth to live, die, and return to life to provide the opportunity for us to have eternal life by believing in Him.
To accept Jesus as your Savior and receive eternal life, you can respond to God with a prayer similar to this (remember that you are saved by God's grace, not by a specific prayer):
"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner. I can never receive a life in heaven on my own. My own good deeds are not enough. But you have provided a way. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died to pay the penalty for my sins, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."
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