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What Happens When We Die?


We have just been through a very significant week in the Christian calendar.  ​During this week, our hearts and minds were more​ focused on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. For me, the news of the death of my aunt just​ week ​prior, led me to ponder on the impact of Christ’s resurrection on my aunt as well as​ on all those who died in the Lord.

My pondering led me to preach on this​ topic on Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Christ meant that death dies and life lives. You see death reigned from the time Adam sinned. Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” ​Since then ​everyone has been subjected to death​ but Jesus came and gave death a knock-out blow and defeated it.

The two very important part​s of our identity as humans ​are the body and soul. When a person dies, that identity seems to be broken where the body is buried only to decompose and the soul leaves to be with the Lord. Seems like a disconnect, right? Not true! That body will decompose, but will rise​ again as a transformed body, not a different body. In other words we will have the same body.

Let’s consider three references that show this fact:

Christ was raised in the same body He had before He died. We know this because the tomb was empty (Luke 24:1-6) and because His resurrected body retained scars from the crucifixion (John 20:25, 27). (disciples thought they saw a ghost – he asked them for something to eat) Since Christ’s resurrection is the pattern that our resurrection will follow (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:49), we too will also be raised with the same body.

This is is also evident from the very meaning of the term “resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:13, etc.). The phrase means: that which is dead (namely, our body) is made alive. If the same body that died is not the body that was raised, Paul could not call it the “resurrection of the dead.” It would not be a resurrection at all.

Third, the phrase “the dead will be raised” (1 Cor. 15:52) also communicates this. It is said that “If God meant to start all over with no continuity between the body I have now on earth and the one I will have, why would Paul say ‘the dead will be raised’? Why would he not say, ‘the dead will not be raised (since they are decomposed and their molecules are scattered into plants and animals for a thousand miles) and so God will start from scratch’? He did not say that, because it is not true”

The Resurrection means life lives. When someone dies in the Lord, we will see them again with not with a different body but the same body which God has transformed. So, I will see my aunt, my parents, brother and family and friends.

How is such knowledge shaping how you understand death and how to live daily for Christ?