How Can I Know I’m Going to Heaven When I Die?

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
—2 Peter 3:9

We do everything we can to avoid the inevitability of death. Work, recreational pursuits, and relationships are welcomed diversions from the knowledge we instinctively possess that every passing second moves us closer to the date of our demise. Although death is all around us, we try to ignore it and go on. The thought is too terrifying.

But occasionally death strikes so close to home that it pierces the suspension of disbelief we have created for ourselves. Consider the story of the Old Testament patriarch Job. Work, wealth, and the worship of God were integral parts of Job’s world that kept him from thinking too much about his mortality. However, a freak storm that claimed the lives of all of his ten children shattered Job’s self-created bubble and motivated him to cry out to God with the bottom-line question of human existence: “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14). When you think about it, every other question in life pales in significance to this one.

  • “If my mate dies, will he live again?”
  • “If my child dies, will I see her again?”
  • “What will happen to me after I take my final breath on earth?”

If this life is all that there is, then we should discard the claims of Christianity and find a new paradigm for living. However, if our life on earth is only a brief prologue to an eternal existence that is determined by our beliefs and behavior on this side of the grave, then we would be wise to adopt a different philosophy for living in the here and now.

Is there life after death? We could point to numerous passages in the Old and New Testaments as evidence for a post-death existence. But given the importance of this question, we naturally wonder, “Is there any additional evidence beyond the Bible for life after death?”

I believe that there are extrabiblical evidences for the existence of life beyond the grave. Admittedly, some are stronger than others and none is conclusive on its own, much like circumstantial evidence collected at a crime scene. Individual pieces of evidence by themselves may not be enough to answer the question of life after death, but when considered collectively they point in a definite direction—which, as we will see this week, is the eternal existence all people have in either heaven or hell.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know I’m Going to Heaven When I Die?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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