Is salvation possible after death? Is there a second chance for salvation?
Many wonder whether there is another chance to choose to follow Christ after death. While the idea sounds appealing, the Bible expresses that this is not an option.
The most obvious example of this teaching is found in Luke 16 when Jesus speaks of the afterlife of a man named Lazarus. Specifically, Luke 16:26 notes, "And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us." Here, the very words of Jesus clearly note there is no option for changing our eternal destiny in the afterlife.
Further, in contrast to the idea of reincarnation, the Bible teaches that all people experience death once and then a judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Our eternal destiny is determined by our earthly life. After this life, the only options that exist are eternity with Christ or eternity apart from Him (Luke 16:22-23).
This also negates the increasingly popular ideas of both annihilation and purgatory. Annihilation is the idea that those who do not make it to heaven simply have their souls annihilated or disappear. Purgatory is the Roman Catholic tradition based on the extra-biblical book of 2 Maccabees and church tradition that there is an area of "limbo" or transition in which souls can dwell and later reach heaven. Neither idea finds biblical support.
Philippians 2:10-11 declares that at the end of time, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." One day, even those who oppose Jesus in this life with bow before Him. However, at that time it will be too late to change their situation. After death, all that remains for the unbeliever is judgment (Revelation 20:14-15). That is why we must trust in Him in this life.
Such an understanding should motivate those who do know Christ to urgently and passionately share the gospel with all who have yet to know Him. Further, it should cause those uncertain of their salvation to examine themselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). Choosing our eternal destiny is not something to put off until later in life. Since no one knows how long he or she will live, it is vital to accept the Lord's salvation now (2 Corinthians 6:2).
In fact, the Lord offers most of us many chances to accept His great salvation in this life. We have been given multiple opportunities to respond. Our "second chance" is already here. Abraham told the rich man, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31). Yet we have both Scripture and the resurrection of Jesus. This is ample evidence to accept Christ's salvation in this life. Once this life is over, there will be no more second chances. Today is the day of salvation.
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