When a Christian Dies

Steve Petroelje

READ : Romans 8:38-39; Luke 23:43

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43)

You may have witnessed it in person. A loved one is
lying on a hospital bed. They take
a final breath and a flat line appears on a heart
monitor. But then what? What happens next?

Most of what the New Testament says about the future
refers to the new heaven and new earth that God will
create when Christ returns. For now, we can take great
comfort in knowing that when a Christian dies, they are
in the presence of the Lord. The apostle Paul
in Romans 8 reminds us that nothing, not even death
itself, can separate us from the love
of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus promised to the
repentant thief dying next to him
on the cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be
with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

After death our bodies are placed in the ground or
cremated, someday to be resurrected
and glorified. But our spirits, the breath of life that
God places within us, are raised
up to the present heaven. The Bible reveals examples of
those who have died physically but
yet remain alive in spirit. This includes the souls of
the martyrs who cry out, “How
long?” (Rev. 6:9-10). All will be fulfilled following
the return of Christ and the
resurrection of the body. Until then, we can find
comfort in knowing that believers who
precede us in death are in the very presence of the


Lord, I long to see you face to face, and I praise you that nothing can separate me from your loving presence. Amen.