In seeking to answer the question, “What happens when I die?” Paul has given us some valuable insights:

  • We are all going to die.
  • Our present bodies are only temporary dwellings. God has new bodies prepared for us in Heaven.
  • We also have a soul – the real, conscious us – which continues to exist after we have died.

Where will your soul be after you have died?

As a pastor, I have conducted scores of funerals over many years, for people with faith or no faith at all. One thing I have noticed in the eulogies at some funerals I conduct is this: The deceased person has certainly gone to Heaven, regardless of what he/she believed about God or how they lived in this life.

The picture usually given is that Norm or Kath has passed beyond the Pearly Gates and is now sitting at Grandma’s table, enjoying a nice cup of tea and a lamb roast, and catching up with other deceased members of the family.

Is this a realistic hope or is it wishful thinking – a way of consoling people as they try to come to terms with their loss?

I suspect it is the latter.

The writers of the New Testament were convinced a person could know with certainty where they were going after they died. Paul said Heaven and our new bodies were “guaranteed to us because God gave us the Holy Spirit.”

This directs us back to the physical resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Jesus told His disciples He must die, be resurrected, then return to His Father so that the Holy Spirt would be sent to His followers.

The giving of the Holy Spirit changed everything. Every person who places their trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour is filled with the resurrection life and power of Jesus, in the Person of the Holy Spirit – God’s guarantee is we have eternal life now and in the future.

This is realistic hope, and I’ll take that over wishful thinking any day!

What, or who, are you basing your hope of Heaven on?