As we have seen, Scripture tells us that there are only two ways to die. If we die in our sins, that is, without faith, we will be sent to the eternal suffering of the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11–15). If, on the other hand, we die in faith, we will be welcomed into the blessed presence of God Himself, where we will see Him face-to-face (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 13:12). Those who never rest in Christ alone for salvation will experience never-ending suffering, but suffering ends for the Christian at the moment of death. Then, our communion with the Lord will be perfected, and we will enjoy His goodness forever.
At death, the believer goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Today’s passage gives us some idea of what that home will be like. We will dwell in the Father’s house (John 14:1–4). This is a homey, familial image that conveys warmth, love, and provision. Christ has promised—and He always keeps His Word—to bring us to heaven where we will be perfectly secure and have no worries.
Interestingly, while the Christian concept of heaven has its own unique features, belief in an afterlife is not limited to Christianity. Except for atheists, who have always constituted a very small percentage of the world’s population, people by and large affirm some kind of life after death. Some believe in reincarnation. Others believe in something like heaven. But it is almost impossible to find someone who denies that life after death is at least a possibility.
These various conceptions of the afterlife are all contradictory, so they cannot all be true. However, the persistence of belief in some kind of life after death testifies that despite our best efforts, we cannot fully deny the revelation of God in creation. As Paul explains in Romans 1:18–3:21, all men know that there is a perfectly just Creator who will judge us according to the moral law written on our consciences. Yet, we know that justice is not always done in this life. Some innocent people are convicted and some guilty people go free. This fact, plus the undeniable truth that the Judge of all the earth will do right (Gen. 18:25), provides the foundation for belief that justice not done in the here and now will be done on the other side of the grave. People might try to deny divine justice, but any concept of an afterlife where things are set right proves that we know God will judge us and that we are guilty. Scripture insists that we will be declared righteous and able to withstand divine scrutiny after our deaths only if we trust in Christ alone (Rom. 3:21–26).