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Jan 22 2010

Salvation Possible After Death?

Word of God Does Not Change

The other day, I had a conversation with someone who said that salvation was possible after death.  After all, she told me, God’s mercy must be bigger than what you’re (as in me) telling me.  She said that I was limiting God in what He can do.  Certainly, this is a really tough subject to talk about.  This person did believe in heaven and hell but only the really bad people go there according to her.  After death, she contended, God will extend His mercy and give people another opportunity to seek Him and His salvation.

This person, as do I, come from families that are not Christians.  This makes the subject especially heart-wrenching.  Those that believe in universal reconciliation believe that after death, there’s a limited punishment and then everybody will be saved.  Catholicism teaches that souls of the dead that still are in need of purification will spend some time in purgatory before heading to Heaven.  Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only the 144,000 chosen will enter heaven while the rest of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will inherit the new earth.  The others remain in the grave or can be released through something called “ransom sacrifice.”  Mormons teach it is possible to baptize the dead in order to save unbelievers.  There are a bunch of other groups that have their own teachings that support this type of belief of the unsaved.  I think these schools of thoughts probably have good intentions behind them – giving hope – but it’s a false hope.

It sounds nice but that’s not what God said.  After all, it is God and heaven that all these groups are seeking.  You just can’t make up something because that’s what you want.   So what does God really say?

  • And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
    Hebrews 9:27

After death comes judgment.

There is not a single scripture that even suggests that after death, salvation will be offered.  He is offering it to everyone in this life.  Those that teach otherwise such as the groups that I mentioned above, teach falsely and give hope where there is no hope.  After all, if we’re seeking God and eternity with Him, we better make sure we go to the source – that is God’s Word.

I was accused of limiting God in what He can do.  I answered her that I was not but God Himself has declared what His guidelines are.  It does not  matter whether we like it or not.  But we cannot make up rules to supplement what we want.  God is not going to change His ways to accommodate our beliefs or desires.  We operate within the confines of God’s Word; He does not operate within the confines of man’s rules or beliefs.

When I was younger, I used to have a problem with speeding.  After getting several tickets over the years, I changed my ways.  I am bound to operate within the laws of the land I live in or I pay the consequences.  There was no way I could fight the ticket by walking into court and expecting the laws to be changed to accommodate my particular driving habits.  I played by their rules and went to traffic school to keep the tickets off of my record.  I had no other options available to me.  The mercy the court showed was allowing me to attend traffic school and therefore keep a clean driving record.  If I did not avail myself of that within a certain time period, I would have to pay the consequences, the judgment which would be the fine for speeding and a point on my driving record.

God has shown mercy to man.  He offers salvation in this life.  If man does not avail himself of that mercy within the time-frame that God has given (the person’s whole life), then the consequences of judgment will stand.

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19 comments

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  1. Repent Harlequin

    Hey Blog Lady T.,

    Good subject and good post.

    I’m reminded of Lazarus and the rich man who asked that Lazarus be sent back to warn the man’s brothers; it was obviously too late for the rich man. There is an unbridgeable chasm at that point.

    What people mean when they accuse you of “putting God in a box” is that not that you’re limiting God but that you’re not using their box.

    In Christ,
    Kent

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Kent,

      You’re right — it was too late for Lazarus. Once he stepped into eternity, his fate was sealed as is with all of us. We are either sealed unto salvation or destruction.

      I agree — they probably mean that we’re not using their box. God does not conform to anyone — whether Christian or not.

      BLT :)

  2. Margaret

    Tishrei,

    God has been saying this from the very beginning….. I am so glad you posted this, because there are so many people, who want to think of themselves as “Christian”, but refuse to accept God’s word as it plainly is….. There are many passages that speak of false teachers twisting God’s word and deceiving people….. They do it for a profit — like in money, fame, and power over people.

    How can we, a puny part of creation, that are nothing more than a vapor, dare to tell God Almighty how things could be done better?….. Better for what?….. God’s way is just and perfect and holy…. What more could we ask for?…. His wisdom is so far beyond our sinful imaginations….. I hope your post reaches the hearts of many confused people and leads them to a right relationship with the God of salvation.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      For sure, there are many that call themselves Christians but are not — they change the Word of God to fit their views.

      That being said, I really do understand someone who struggles with the eternity of their loved ones. That one is so tough and so heart-wrenching, sometimes it can tear a person apart.

  3. Liz

    I agree. my dad is like that person you talked with Tishrei, he comes from a catholic back ground and thinks that he is going to heaven because “he” my dad thinks he is good enough.

    Then there are other people i have talked with and think that they are too. That they can some how convince God of how good they were here on earth. But it it is to late. Today is the day of salvation. Not after we are dead.

    and it is so sad that they change things to make it on their terms not God`s.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Liz,

      I know — I’ve met a lot of Catholics. There’s a whole concept behind them

  4. Loren

    I was flipping through channels the other night and came across the program “Amazing Discoveries.” Doug Batchelor (the preacher on the show) was teaching the Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine of “annihilationism”, that is, “Hell is the grave.” Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, SDA’s teaches that death is the final destination for the lost and that no punishment exists beyond the grave.

    I always like to hear the reasoning used for reaching the conclusions that these groups teach, so I listened to his whole presentation. He did present a few verses which were twisted and ripped from their context to support his claims, but do you know what his primary impetus for believing this was?

    “I used to believe in the traditional teaching about Hell but it never felt right. I simply COULD NOT believe that a loving and merciful God would create such a place”, he declared with a broad smile on his face. That’s the bottom line. He REFUSED to believe the clear teaching of Scripture because he did not like it. So, he practiced “eisegesis” rather than exegesis and “read into” the Word of God what he wanted to see.

    “What a COMFORT it was to me when I realized that everything I had been taught about Hell was false” he proclaimed. To believe that we will all get a second chance after death or, as Mr. Batchelor was teaching: the worst thing that might happen is you just go to sleep and never wake up if you reject Christ might be comforting, but it’s not what the Bible teaches.

    Ray Comfort once said about a lady to whom he was evangelizing: “She told me: I don’t believe that MY God would ever send anyone to Hell! I responded, yes, that ‘s true, but YOUR god doesn’t exist. Your god is someone that you have made up, you had better be concerned what the true God has to say about it!”

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Loren,

      People do that all the time — that is they eisegete into the scripture. I also hear a lot of “I can’t believe in a God that does such and such.” The thing is whether someone chooses to believe or not has no bearing on God’s existence or who He is.

      Actually, that’s really sad what you heard on television. What that guy was saying is that he does not like the reality of the bible so he came up with his own version of reality. That does not change the ‘real’ reality. It stands no matter how much someone changes it in their own mind.

  5. Daniel

    Good post. I agree. God’s standard for right and wrong isn’t something he made up. It is an extension of who he is.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi, I agree. The Word is made flesh. He has done everything that is needed to save man but one thing He won’t do is downgrade His holiness and righteousness for the sake of man.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Kendall Davis

    God is a God of yours and all salvation. You may say “well I’m not saved”. The Bible doesn’t declare that you have to be saved to praise God. But what God’s word does say is that “let everything that has breath…..” (And yes, that means… men,women,children,animals and gay people).Are you breathing? Then you need to oped up your mouth in faith and give God praise,with the a voice of triumph!!! God strips away everything you are on the outside and sees the worshipper in you!!! Don’t let the devil tell you that you can’t recieve God’s salvation!!!Remember when Jesus died on the cross the words humility,obedience,truth,love,sacrifice,holy,merciful and savoir all meant something.God is real,he’s here, he loves you and he will fix you. Believe in him, Jesus is what you need! He can make you whole again. And I believe that as you read these words you will be touched by God and feel the spirit of the lord move in your spirit and in your life.The lord has already begun to fix your problems,believe him.Hear him as well,he still speaks all you have to do is listen.Trust him, when you get off your knees don’t worry about what you just prayed about you trust him and exspect him to do something. Right now I want you to reach out and touch you computer screen in faith and believe that God will deliver you, just say:”God heal me, touch me O’ gracious lord”. Say:”I apologize for my sins lord touch my life and make me whole, in the name of Jesus, Amen”.

    If you need help all you need to say is “I need somebody to pray with me” call these numbers:(numbers edited out. See comment below for reason). If you don’t get through the first time please keep trying!

    God Bless You!

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Kendall,

      I removed the phone numbers on your comment and wanted to explain why I did. I am VERY reluctant to either delete anyone’s comment or change it. In fact, in the little over a year, I have left up comments that were harsh and though I wished to delete them, I did not.

      I removed the phone numbers because I don’t want advertising on my blog. I choose what I want advertised which is found in “Links” at the top of this blog. Since it’s my blog, I am more comfortable in choosing what I want advertised on my blog. Without knowing what your organization teaches or the theology it follows, I am comfortable not having those numbers up.

  7. Repent Harlequin

    Kendall,
    Thanks for the spam, but I don’t think advertising a, ahem, prayer line that probably asks for money is the thought behind this blog. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  8. Mark

    Okay, a question here. What about those who never had the chance to hear about Jesus? Persons living in parts of the world where the Gospel hasn’t reached them and they die. Young children who never had the opportunity to accept Jesus or those due to some mental infirmity are unable to understand the concept of God or Jesus? As a Christian, these are the questions that dog me constantly…looking for answers since I haven’t been able to find answers in the Bible. Granted maybe I just didn’t look in the right place so thank you for any help you can provide.

    1. Tishrei

      This really is a tough one — one that many of us Christians have struggled with. I know that I have struggled with this one. Here’s what I do know.

      Deu 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

      No one that seeks after God will not find Him for He will make Himself known. The Gospel has gone to all nations — throughout the whole entire world. God also says that He has revealed Himself in nature. He has declared that there is no excuse.

      For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

      The problem isn’t that no one has not had an opportunity to accept Jesus but that mankind rebels against Him (Romans).

      As to mental infirmity, you might want to look at this post.

      Thanks for stopping by. I think I am going to write a post about the topic you brought us as there are so many of us Christians that struggle with this.

  9. DYWM

    I’m not disagreeing, but I do believe that there’s more to be said on the subject.

    Scripture itself says that ‘man dies once and then after death comes judgement’. The judgement comes after death. It says it very clearly right there, doesn’t it? This scripture indicates that at the moment of death judgement has not yet been passed.

    Maybe we need expand, rather than limit, our consideration of what God is capable of, or of how far his goodness can reach. Revelation indicates that everyone, living and dead, will be raised up before the throne at the same moment. Time is not a measurable quantity to God the same way it is to us. It also says that there are treasures stored up in Heaven for those who served God faithfully in this life. Maybe on that day of judgement those who knew the truth on Earth will be vindicated, those who lived for others but didn’t really know the truth will finally have a face to put to their faith and hope, and the purifying fire of God’s goodness will leave nothing of those who were consumed with themselves and brought nothing of Jesus to the afterlife with them.

    Jesus died to save all people. There are people who never heard Jesus’ name who will be saved by Jesus’ grace.

  10. Josh

    Tishrei,

    It is true that the Bible seems to teach our fates are sealed at death, at least with some scriptures. But what about the so many scriptures that seem to teach something different. I think a lot has to do with the way culture ( including Christian) interprets them. This reminds me of a similar statement: God is omnipresent. But how could God truly be omnipresent unless he was in people we might consider “evil” too? How can anything have life, or more importantly, have BEING, unless they are an extension of the Divine source that allows anything to be. David tells us in the Psalms that God is even in the depths of Hell. Why? Because he is truly omnipresent. I have to agree with the women on this one: to say that God can’t save after this one life is putting God in a very limiting box indeed. We must learn to think about the scriptures beyond what the traditional Christian culture tells us to. I was once a part of this culture and believed that we only had one chance? But is this truly mercy? For God to create something knowing a head of time it was destined for eternal punishment really be pinned on a God that is so big all his ways? This topic is important to me because I was once trapped in this fear until I began to ask questions and get more answers that made better since. Besides, to teach that God only gives one chance motivates people to serve him outside of themselves be fear.

    I do appreciate you bringing this topic to light, and I am not being argumentative. Just Real. Thanks for the post. God bless!

  11. Suge Dupree

    “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39

  12. E-Rock

    While I see what your saying. You can look at it both ways. To say he cant make people who are destined to be evil is also putting God in a box. Read these Scriptures.. Job 5:18 “For he wounds, but he also binds up;
    he injures, but his hands also heal” Also, Romans 9:14-20 “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

    16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

    19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

    ” So we find it is all about his grace and yes some ARE destined to go to hell. Think of Judas. He was fortold about long before it happened.. He was doomed at birth.

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