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Immediately after Death: Fully Conscious

August 7, 2018

My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. Philippians 1:23

Jesus said to the thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise”—immediate, conscious enjoyment of the presence of God!

Now, some have seized on the fact that the Bible sometimes describes death as sleep (1 Cor. 15:51), and have suggested that the souls of believers go to sleep when they die. Please remember that what sleeps is not the soul, but the body. The body is laid to rest until the resurrection. But the soul is very much alive in the presence of Jesus.

Some people latch onto the idea of soul sleep because it is easier to imagine unconsciousness than it is to imagine the life of a soul without a body. But unconsciousness is not the promise of Jesus. Enjoying his presence is. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). In other words, Paul is saying, “I get more when I die, not less.”

You are blessed in this life with every spiritual blessing in Christ. There is no way in the world that unconsciousness is better than that! What is better by far is that your faith will be turned to sight. Your pain, grief, failure, violence, and persecution will be over. You will sin no more, and with your spirit made perfect, you will consciously enjoy the presence of Jesus.

To be with Christ is better than all you can experience in Christ now. It is better than anything you have ever known and it is better than anything you can know in this world. It is better by far!

What does it mean to you to know that you will not sleep after death if you are a Christian, and that your experience will be better by far than your experience in this life?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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