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The day your soul leaves your body

Why do people all around the world have a sense that their soul is immortal? This universal experience is due to a simple fact: “God has set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Conscious awareness of eternity is part of what it means to be human.

C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Jesus Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

You may not yet be aware of what happens when you die, but you probably sense that your life on earth is just the tip of the iceberg. As Pastor Rick Warren said: “At most, you will live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity."

Dan delzell
(Photo: Dan Delzell)

Would you like to know how it is going to play out on the day your soul leaves your body? Would you like to take a peek behind the curtain? If so, you will need to accept the revelation our Creator has provided in the Bible.

For example, here is a promise given to every follower of Christ: 

“Our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20,21).

Our earthly body will perish because it is imperfect, but we will enjoy a perfect body forever in Heaven. “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).

Your soul will leave your body the moment you die. There is nothing you can do to change that fact. What you can do, however, is believe the truth and place your faith in what God did by sending His only Son to die on the cross for your sins. “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Jesus said, “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28,29).

It is impossible to “do good” in God’s eyes until you first place your faith in Jesus. And even then, you will still be far from perfect. But your sins will be forgiven. In order to get into Heaven, you must be forgiven of your sins. If your soul leaves your body without faith in Christ, you will be sent to Hell to pay for your sins yourself. 

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell” (Matthew 10:28). Eternal destruction is not annihilation, but rather, eternal punishment.

Jesus said, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Jesus also said, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41,42).

This explains why Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Souls do not get “extinguished” and cease to exist. Every soul is immortal.

Jesus declared this wonderful news: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus then asked Martha, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)

Jesus couldn’t have made it clearer. “Whoever believes in me will live.” Meditate upon those words for 60 seconds. Think about the meaning of each word. 

Faith is the hand that gladly receives God’s gracious gift. Will you trust Christ to forgive your sins and bring your soul to Heaven when you die? He would love to do it. 

My friend, it is not God’s desire that you go to Hell when you die. “The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). 

At the moment of your death, your soul will become “unattached” from your earthly body. You will be immediately ushered to one of two places; either Paradise, or Hades; either Heaven, or Hell.

Jesus told a thief on a cross next to Him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus spoke about a rich man who went in the other direction. This man’s soul went to Hades (Hell) when he died, where he remains “in torment” to this very day. (Luke 16:19-31)

There are only two options in eternity. These extreme destinations are currently inhabited by multitudes of people. Your eternal address will be based upon what happens between you and Jesus while you are still here on earth. Either you will accept Christ as your Savior and be forgiven of your sins, or you will decline the Lord's free offer of grace, forgiveness and salvation.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

God loves you, but He hates your sin. Jesus bore God’s wrath against sin on the cross, while also demonstrating God’s love for us. (Romans 5:8) Jesus died in your place and suffered the punishment you and I deserve to pay. “The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). But if you reject Christ’s payment for your sins, you will be required to pay for your sins yourself. 

God will not force you to become a follower of Christ, or to receive the free gift of salvation. He will, however, offer it to you. In fact, He is offering it to you right now as you read these words concerning God's love for you.

“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

If your soul left your body today, where would it go? Do you know where will you spend eternity? 

One of the final verses in the Bible states: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

Believe it or not, you will have eternity to reflect upon your acceptance, or rejection, of God’s gracious offer of salvation. But you only have a window in time to “humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

Will you humble yourself before the Lord today as you repent of your sin and receive Christ as your Savior? Simply tell God: 

“Lord, I need you. Please forgive my sins Jesus. I believe you died for my sins on the cross. I turn away from sin and place my faith in you. Save my soul Lord Jesus, and empower me to become one of your faithful followers. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today, tomorrow and forever. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.”

And if you need any help locating a Christ-centered church in your area where grace and truth encourage Christians and build up believers in their faith, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at dandelzell@cox.net anytime.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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