What happens after you die?
No one ever wants to talk about death.
It is a very uncomfortable subject.
Nevertheless, the unfortunate fact is that it's a certainty. Look around.
Try to find someone over the age of about 120 years. You can't. They're not here. They're gone --from the greatest to the least. The leaders of the great Greek and Roman empires - gone. European and Asian monarchs, framers of the US - gone. Shakespeare, Milton, Bach, Mozart...well, you get the idea. In the COVID era we have been confronted with this even more so vividly, even on a daily basis with friends, acquaintances and loved ones who were otherwise healthy. Not fun. Tragic. Overwhelming.
And while no one likes to hear bad news, to be informed is better than to be unprepared. That's why vehicles have bright red warning lights on the dashboard - to notify of trouble before a major catastrophe. And why patients want and trust their physician's expert opinion. No patient really wants his or her physician to lie to them -- to change the diagnosis to make it sound better while at the same time withholding the treatment they so desperately need and want. What physician would ever do that?
Which brings us to the matter at hand. The 'D' word and how to be prepared for the unfortunate inevitability.
The bible says that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins committed by people. He gave up his life for others and his death by crucifixion is sufficient to pay the price which is required as a result of sin. In this way, God is able to remain just -- fulfilling his obligation to justice-- while also forgiving his offenders. The penalty is paid, but by God himself. The offender is free, his punishment taken by another. This is what's so amazing about grace.
The bloodshed of an innocent intermediary as payment for sin began in the garden, continued with Abraham and Isaac, protected the Israelites from the death of the firstborn during the night of the Passover in Egypt, and was the mainstay of regular Temple sacrifices under the Levite priests. While Jesus was on the cross during the Passover holy day, the temple interior curtain was destroyed removing the place where the Jewish high priest went to offer a special blood sacrifice for the sins of all families one day a year on the religious Day of Atonement. The crucifixion ended that practice. Since then, the shed blood of Jesus is the sufficient atoning sacrifice for sin.
There is no atoning sacrifice in Islam to bring peace between God and man. Non-messianic Jews remain under the system of laws, though Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies. Hinduism, Buddhism and secular humanism are based in human effort which has never been sufficient to close the gap created by sin, though man continues to try and try and try and...
So for those who are in Christ, who have received the free gift of grace from God and taken it and opened it and made it the centerpiece of their lives, when death comes for them they will point to the cross and offer Christ's death as a substitute as a sacrificial lamb and this will suffice. For others however, when death comes, their lives will be required of them.
Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life. He is also the atoning sacrifice.