ONE MINUTE AFTER YOU DIE
NOTE: God's saving grace will regenerate your soul. Your behaviors will change only if you are truly "born again." Simply saying a prayer doesn't guarantee you are one of God's children. You must turn from your sinful lifestyle (repent) and dedicate your life to Jesus Christ who died in your place on the cross. He must be Lord of your life....
One minute after you slip behind the parted curtain, you will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching your first glimpse of gloom as you have never known it. Either way, your future will be irrevocably fixed and eternally unchangeable.
Those who find themselves in heaven will be surrounded with friends whom they have known on earth. Every description of heaven they have ever heard will pale in light of reality. Many others will be shrouded in darkness, a region of deprivation and unending regret. For them, death will be far worse than they imagined.
And so while relatives and friends plan your funeral, you will be more alive than you have ever been. You will either see God on His throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity, or you will feel an indescribable weight of guilt and abandonment. There is no destination midway between these extremes.
I once read a tragic story about people enjoying themselves on the top stories of a tall apartment building not knowing that there was a fire burning on the lower floors. Just so, many are enjoying life, comfortably ignoring the fact that their death is not only inevitable, but much nearer than they think. Indeed, this world and all we have accumulated will eventually be burned up.
Dont imagine for a moment that you will get to heaven without the right credentials. You will not be there because your wife has a right to enter; you will not be there because you have a child who is already there. No, this is an individual matter, and only those with the right document will be allowed entry.
Our problem, of course, is that God will not accept us just as we are. We cannot come to heavens gates hoping for leniency. We cannot come pleading for special favors once we have slipped through the parted curtain.
But God is able to give us all of His perfections; His righteousness can be credited to our account so that we can enter into heaven immediately at death without so much as an intermediate stop.
When Christ died on the cross, He made a sacrifice for sinners, which God accepted. Though Christ was perfect, God made Him legally guilty of all of our sins. In turn, we receive His righteousness. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Christ was regarded as a sinner when He bore our sin; we are regarded as saints when we receive His righteousness. God has exceedingly high standards, but thanks be, He meets them for us!
When we receive Christ's righteousness, God also changes us from the inside out. Christ said, Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). That is something that God must do for us.
What must we do to receive the gift of righteousness and a new nature within? The answer is to admit our helplessness, to acknowledge that we are dependent on Gods mercy. Then we must transfer all of our trust to Christ as our sin-bearer; we must believe in Him as the One who did all that we will ever need to stand in Gods holy presence. To believe in Christ means that as best we know, we trust Him for all that we need in this life and in the life to come.
Here is a prayer that expresses your desire to transfer your trust to Christ alone for your eternal salvation. And if you pray it in faith, God will receive you.
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that ever will be necessary for me to stand in Your holy presence.
I thank You that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failure.
Father, I take You at Your word. I thank You that I can face death now that You are my Savior. Thank You for the assurance that You will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank You for hearing this prayer. In Jesus name, amen.