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Don Stewart :: Why Study about the Afterlife?

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Don Stewart
As we begin our examination of the afterlife, we will start by asking why we should be engaged in such a study. Of what personal benefit is there in looking at the subjects of death, heaven, and hell? Why study about the future, when we have to live right now in the present? Contrary to many opinions, a person will greatly benefit when they examine what the Bible has to say about the next world.

1. Important Part Of God's Word

To begin with, a large part of the Bible deals with the afterlife. It is a subject that is covered in both testaments. Much of the Bible looks forward to the final state of humanity. Since the afterlife is an important subject of Scripture, it deserves to be studied by all.

2. Answers To The Great Unknown

The afterlife is the great unknown. Studying what the Bible has to say on the subject provides solid answers to the questions about what happens, if anything, after a person dies. Since the Bible is the only authoritative source on the subject, it is important for one to know what it says about the world to come. This way someone can know for certain what the next world holds.

3. Clear Up Misconceptions

Many people think death is the end of existence. Others believe that when one dies they go to purgatory. Still others think that humanity can know nothing about the future. When a person studies what the Bible has to say about these subjects, then any confusion can be cleared up. There is no need for uncertainty, or wrong beliefs, on this subject, for God has spoken.

4. Confidence And Hope

Confidence and hope are a result of studying what Scripture has to say about the life beyond. For those who have trusted Christ as Savior, they can be confident that this life is not all that there is. Something else awaits them beyond the grave. Eternal life with God is something believers can know that they possess.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

5. Maintain The Proper Perspective

When a person understands that this life is not all that there is, they are able to make their daily decisions in light of eternity. This can, and should, lead to one having a proper balance in this life. The choices we make now have eternal ramifications. When one begins to understand this truth, then life will be lived from an eternal perspective. Paul wrote.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

6. Motivation For Godly Living

A correct understanding of the afterlife should motivate believers to godly living.

The Bible says.

And all who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

Jesus said.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19,20).

7. Comfort And Encouragement

A study of the afterlife can be a comfort and encouragement for those who have lost loved ones. The Bible says that death is not the end. Those who have died "in Christ" will someday be reunited with their loved ones who have also believed. Knowing this can be a source of great comfort. After speaking of this hope, the Apostle Paul wrote.

Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

8. Warning For Unbelievers

Studying about the afterlife can also serve as a warning for those who do not know Christ. Understanding what the future holds for them can be a strong motivation for trusting Christ as Savior. Jesus told a parable about a man who was unprepared for the future.

Then He told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God (Luke 12:16-21).

This life should be looked at as preparation for the next. Our choices in this life will determine where we will spend the next life.

9. Compassion For Lost


One of the results from a study of the subject of heaven and hell is compassion for the lost. The Bible says of Jesus.

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest' (Matthew 9:36-38).

It is God's desire that people turn away from their sins. The Lord told Ezekiel.

Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'
(Ezekiel 33:11).

Knowing that every human being will spend eternity either with God in heaven, or without Him in hell should give the believer a sense of compassion and urgency for those who do not know Christ.

10. Realize Justice Will Eventually Be Done

Finally, a biblical study of the afterlife will show that justice will ultimately prevail in the universe. We discover that God is in control of the universe, and there will come a time when He will right all the wrongs. The Lord has kept a record of the behavior of everyone.

Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored His name (Malachi 3:16).

God will fairly judge everyone. The Bible says.

For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality (Colossians 3:25).

Summary

There are many good reasons to study about the afterlife. They include.

1. A large part of Scripture is devoted to this topic.

2. It can help us have the answers to questions about the great unknown-death.

3. Misconceptions and uncertainty about the next world will be cleared up.

4. Confidence and hope should result from a study of the next life.

5. Decisions can be made in light of eternity when one understands the biblical teaching on the afterlife.

6. Godly living should be a result of understanding what Scripture has to say about the next world.

7. This study will encourage believers who have lost loved ones who have believed in Christ.

8. Knowing what the future holds serves as a warning for those who do not know Christ.

9. Realizing that each individual will spend eternity either with or without God is a strong motivating force to reach the lost with the good news about Jesus.

10. Justice will eventually prevail in the universe when God rights the wrongs on judgment day.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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