By Andrew McClurg
Faculty, College of Theology
I was not too long ago asked a query about the possibility of a second opportunity soon after a single has died. The query was along these lines: What occurs to souls that pass ahead of they can try to make it suitable with Jesus? Do they have an chance to respond to Jesus Christ soon after they die but ahead of the day of judgement?
Some have promoted the thought of a second opportunity soon after death. But the Bible does not indicate that men and women get an chance to repent or to place faith in Jesus soon after they die. Hebrews 9:27 says, “People are destined to die after, and soon after that to face judgment.”
Jesus mentioned that men and women will be judged primarily based on what they did throughout their lives. In Matthew 16:27, Jesus mentioned, “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward every individual according to what they have completed.”
Some point to John five:25 as proof that these who have died will have the gospel preached to them: “Very actually I inform you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and these who hear will reside.”
But this interpretation requires the verse out of its context. The whole passage is John five:25-29, which tends to make clear that the context is the final judgment. The passage reads as follows:
“Very actually I inform you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and these who hear will reside. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has provided him authority to judge for the reason that he is the Son of Man. ‘Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out– these who have completed what is superior will rise to reside, and these who have completed what is evil will rise to be condemned.’”
Verses 27-30 make it clear that the context is final judgment. Everybody, such as these in the graves will “hear his voice” and then be raised from the dead either to a resurrection of eternal life with God or to a resurrection of condemnation exactly where they are separated from God. All men and women will “hear the voice of the Son of God” when the Son of God judges the globe and not at some pre-judgment occasion when he preaches the gospel to men and women who have died but never ever accepted him.
Think about also the parable Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31, which indicates that the wealthy man went quickly to a spot of punishment. There is no indication that he was going to get one more opportunity. In truth in the story, Abraham says that no a single can pass more than from the realm of punishment to the realm of reward or vice versa (16:26).
Regardless of these truths, even so, we want to be cautious of assuming the eternal location of men and women primarily based on our external assessment of their lives. We are not in the position of God to know the inner workings of a person’s heart and thoughts, specifically in the hours preceding death. We want to rest in the assurance that each judgment and salvation belong to the Lord (Psalm 96:13, Jonah two:9) and that the God of all the earth will do what is suitable (Genesis 18:25).
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