Wednesday, October 2, 2019

What Happens When We die?

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.  For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:5-8

I would argue that Paul makes a compelling argument for the first law of thermodynamics. (And you are thinking – “OK – here we go again!” Martie, my wife told me that when I go off like this that people really aren’t listening, they are just being polite!)  So humor me for a moment. Please read to the end.

"What is the first law?", you ask. – since it seems to have slipped your mind.   “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.” (First Law of Thermodynamics – aka – the Law of Conservation of Energy)

Death.  It is not something people like to think about - but it is something everyone will think about and experience. We don't get to choose when, where, or how we will die, apart from taking our own life that is. But death is a certainty unless Jesus returns first and even then the first law of thermodynamics will take effect.

" … it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment .." Hebrews 9:27

So in the context of the first law - Paul was saying that when a Believer dies – they are “transferred” from one form to another. Get it? Good! Why bring it up? I am not intending to be morbid, but reflective.  This past weekend, Martie and I went to Northern California to celebrate the life of a dear friend and partner in the Gospel – John Turnbull. John, as of August 11, 2019 is now absent from the body so he is …. Yes, you got it don’t you! Present with the Lord in another form.  Do you know who invented the law of thermodynamics?  Not the one who observed and described it …. That was Sadi Carnot a French scientist who died in 1832.  No – it was God – the creator so why should it come as a surprise that when we die the law of thermodynamics, one of His laws for His creation, is at work?

To my point.  One of the speakers at the memorial service was a neighbor of John’s.  As I listened to him, it became apparent to me that the man was not a Christian.  As he pontificated on his own near death experience – or was it an actual death and he came back to life? Anyway – he failed to mention the Father of lights – His Son – Jesus who is the resurrection and the life – nor the Spirit given to us by the Father – nor the fact that John was now with the Lord. I suppose that he wanted John's wife to know that there was something beyond the grave.

His words caused me to think about how the lost think of death.  Most suspect that there is something after life on earth – they just don’t have the foggiest idea what it might be – but it certainly has nothing to do with our Jesus.  

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:20-22
People wonder what their will existence be like after death?  Some think they will be reincarnated.  Maybe, it will be something toadally (sic) different! Like becoming a toad in their next existence maybe. Do you remember the line in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” – Delmar O'Donnell: "We thought you was a toad!" Pete: "What?" Delmar O'Donnell: [leaning in, speaking slower] "Weeee --- thooooought ---- youuuuuuu ----- waaaaaas ----  a toad-ah!"

I am not making fun of the speaker – actually – in fact I thought it is very sad.  He may have been grand standing a bit, but he revealed his desperation to understand what happens beyond the grave. He knows there is something. We all know there is something. Natural laws cannot be disrupted or undone.  God put them into place. Only He can change them. The simple, inescapable truth is this.  If you are not a Christian when you die – the law of thermodynamics will take effect - for everyone.  The thing is – the result for the lost will be that they are not with the Lord – they will exist but are hell bound and that will not change either. The only thing that can change their destination is a decision they can make before they die. That is putting their faith in Jesus.  

Pray for that man and his family. The entire pew that was sitting with him nodded their heads in agreement with him as he spoke. Pray for them as well. No amount of thinking - human wisdom - or wanting something else to be true will change the Truth - the Truth will eventually reveal the lie for what it is. (As Jesus said to Nicodemus who wanted to know the answer to the same question – "You must be born again." - John 3)

Tennessee Ernie Ford sang a song – Almost Persuaded (Philip Paul Bliss – Public Domain)

"Almost persuaded” now to believe; “Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
  Seems now some soul to say,  “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
  Some more convenient day  on Thee I’ll call.”

“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past! “Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last;
  “Almost” cannot avail;   “Almost” is but to fail!
  Sad, sad that bitter wail— “Almost—but lost!”

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