This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar.
In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8
What happens when we die? That is a question we all ponder at some point in time. For the follower of Jesus, death is the pathway to something better. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul wrote of the hope we have through Jesus. Right now, in the body, we are not in the full presence of the Lord. But when we die, Paul wrote, we go to be “home with the Lord.”
While we do not seek to force our own death, we trust that God has determined our days, when that death comes we step into the full presence of the one who is perfect joy and unending life.
Yet, what we experience then is not our final state of being.
What we experience beginning the moment we die is like an interlude before the final act starts. In the beginning, God created us body and soul–as both physical and spiritual creatures combined into one. This, on Genesis’ sixth day, God declared “very good.” Yet, because of sin and death, our current physical bodies age, break down, suffer, and eventually cease to function. They are temporary.
This is part of Paul’s point in 5:1-5, where he referred to our current body as an “earthly tent.” This he contrasted with “a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens,” speaking of our resurrected, perfected, and glorified bodies.
Tents are temporary. They are meant to be lived in for only a short season. The building from God is where we are meant to dwell forever. But that time after death and before the resurrection is a time in between. It is, without doubt, a wonderful time in between because we are with Jesus, but it is also a time that Paul symbolized as being “naked” (5:3-4). It also is not how we are meant to be, but we wait for that day to be “clothed… swallowed up by life” (5:4).
So, what happens the moment we die? If we belong to Jesus, we go to dwell with him and in his joyful presence, we wait with anticipation for the resurrection, our final step into true eternal life.
All Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.