What Happens When Someone Dies?

Basic Bible Teachings
Lesson 12: What Happens When Someone Dies?
by Bob Burridge ©2011

What Happens When Someone Dies?

Death is separation.

Most people think of death as the end of everything, but that’s not the main meaning of it in the Bible. When the body dies, the person’s soul is separated from it. The soul part of the person continues to be aware of what’s going on. It is still alive.

The book of Romans (chapter 6, verse 23) tells us that death is earned because of sin. It’s not just your own sins that earn that payment. When Adam sinned the whole human race was condemned to die.

There are two kinds of death in the Bible.

Physical Death is when the body stops working, and the soul is separated from it.
Spiritual Death is when a person is separated from fellowship with God.

When we are born we are already spiritually dead because of the sin of Adam. He represented all of us in Eden. The guilt of Adam’s sin, and our own guilt when we sin, offends God. It becomes a barrier that keeps us from enjoying his comfort and promises. If we die when we are still dead spiritually, we cannot go to Heaven and be with God forever.

The Gospel is that good message that those who are changed by God have that barrier removed. The separation ends. The whole verse of Romans 6:23 tells us that death can be overcome.

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When people who trust in Jesus die, their soul goes immediately to be with their Savior. He paid the penalty of sin for his people. He died in their place. They will enjoy God’s blessings forever.

Resurrection is the rejoining of things separated in death.

When Jesus died on the cross, he was laid in a tomb. Three days later he was resurrected. His human body was changed and joined with his human soul again.

When the end of our world comes, Jesus will come again and the bodies of all his people will be resurrected too. Their bodies will be joined again with their souls in Heaven. They will live there forever with God and all the other believers. This is physical resurrection.

There is also a spiritual resurrection when the person separated from God is joined with him again. This is the Christian life we enjoy here on earth while we are still alive. Jesus removed the barrier of our guilt so that God enjoys our fellowship again, and we enjoy his blessings while we live here.

When we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are raised up from spiritual death and are alive in a new way. Romans 6:4 explains that this is what our Baptism represents.

Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Those who are made alive by the Gospel should live as those who are made right with God again. Their lives should show how thankful they are for God’s love.

The sad part of this is that those who are not changed by faith in Jesus Christ are left in their spiritual death. They have no spiritual resurrection, so in the final day of judgment they will remain separated from God forever.

Those who are spiritually alive have the privilege of taking the Gospel to them. Some will show the love of God that makes them alive too. It is a wonderful thing to be used by God to bring life to those who are spiritually dead. When they trust in what Jesus did, God promises that they will be with him and all of us believers forever in glory.

(Bible verses are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible)
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About Bob Burridge

I've taught Science, Bible, Math, Computer Programming and served 25 years as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pinellas Park, Florida. I'm now Executive Director of the ministry of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

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