If you have been around CCF for any length of time, you know that I often engage people in conversation by asking, “What do you think happens when you die?” Now most people will want to talk about almost anything else—largely because people spend most of their waking hours trying not to think about their inevitable death. Some are simply trying put the whole thing off as long as possible with the latest “life extension” plan or even having their bodies frozen! (It’s called “cryonics”.) Interestingly, although more people are religiously unaffiliated or atheists, the belief in an afterlife has increased!
With no chapter break in the original letter, Paul has just given us the key to his unconquerable spirit! No depression would linger and no temptation to give up on life or ministry would take root. Why not? Because he had determined to make eternal things his focus, and not temporary things. It turns out that this is the strategy of every courageous Christian! There is a whole list of such people in Hebrews chapter 11!
This thought continues in chapter five as Paul gives us some of the most tremendous insight into “life after death”. Not only does Paul give us a great illustration to help our imagination, but he also clearly demonstrates why he is so unafraid to die! In fact, he rather welcomes the prospect! Following the challenging reality of his life in ministry—cast down, persecuted, perplexed, hard pressed—he is quite aware that his body had a lot of mileage on it and could likely be destroyed as a result of opposition to his ministry.
What do you think happens when you die? What is your source of information that drives your belief system? How certain are you?
Come and see the three things Paul knows, and how they affected his thoughts about the future and the way he lived!