By   •   July 29, 2004   •   Topics:


Do you think we go to heaven the instant we die, or do we sleep (or something like that) until Christ comes again and we are awakened? We had a discussion about this in our Bible study, and I was surprised to find out how many different opinions there were.


Yes, Christians can sometimes sincerely disagree on minor matters—although you should never forget that all Christians agree on those things that are really important, such as the divinity of Christ, His death on the cross for our salvation, His resurrection from the dead, and our hope of heaven.

From my own study of the Bible, I’m convinced that when we die, we immediately enter the presence of the Lord. At some future time, we will be given new bodies, similar to the body Jesus had after His resurrection. But in the meantime, our souls are with the Lord, and we are fully conscious of being in His presence.

This certainly seemed to be the Apostle Paul’s hope. He faced many dangers, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end. But he faced death with hope: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).  Elsewhere he declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).

Never forget that we have hope of life after death for one reason: Jesus Christ removed the barrier between us and God—the barrier caused by sin. Is your hope in Him?  If not, put your trust in Christ without delay.

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  1. Katy says:

    What happens to a Christian when we die? Are we judged? Or does being a Christian remove us from being judged? And what are we judged on if we are judged? Thanks

  2. Diane Shackelford says:

    My son confirmed his belief in Jesus Christ as a teen, but took his own life last week at 28. I know I will see him again, but am searching for comfort in the scriptures that his spirit/soul is in heaven, and he is just not asleep in the grave. This has been helpful.

  3. Terry says:

    I think as a christian when I die, “will I be active in spirit, soul or will I be in a deep sleep not knowing anything, which I wouldn’t like, I’ve read many books of out of body experiences of christians, in fact one is a movie soon “Heaven is for real” and they talk about meeting saved christian relatives, friends in heaven, I like that concept, don’t you? Terry

  4. mary e stewart says:

    thank you for your service

  5. Jennifer page says:

    Yes I am a Christian and I have been one since the year 2000 this is when I got baptised I love being a Christian and believing in god and all the good that he does in fact god is my only father who I trust

  6. Alex says:


    I think this is one of the topics that have split most Christian ministries from one another, and I believe it is because of the verses that you have stated is the confusion. I respect your comments on the matter but I feel its taken out of context. In 2 Corn Paul uses the word, “would prefer to” not stating that he will go to heaven right off, in Phili above, he says, ” I desire to” Both verses indicate a “yearning for” But this will not happen until Jesus comes back, its mentions in the Bible what happens to the dead when he come back, and the judgment of mankind. It does not make sense to believe that we die and go to heaven, only to be return to the earth so we can go back to heaven and be judged!

    Just my thoughts!

    1. Sandra says:


      That’s the mystery of the Gospel. Our natural minds could never conceive the mind of Christ. Even if it does not make sense, the word of God in infallible and inspired by God. The more one reads the word of God and welcomes the Holy Spirit in, God will reveal more and more.

      Concerning death… The book of Luke 23:39-43 we learn about Jesus in the cross in the center of two criminals. One of them repented + acknowledged Jesus as Lord. Jesus told him, TODAY you will be with me. Those words are directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ.

      Grace & Peace

    2. Lola says:

      could Luke 23:39-43 mean that this was the day that this sinning man was saved; and now he will have Jesus as his saviour and be resurrected on the day of judgment but was saved by Jesus on that day when he was hung on the cross.

  7. Nancy says:

    I wish I could understand more. I want to believe we go on to a better life. I want to be a better person. Then I am

    1. Amy says:

      Sweet Nancy, we do go on to a better life, a perfect life with our God and savior, if we only choose to believe what He has done for us and follow Him. All you have to do is choose Christ. If you know you have done wrong, you admit it to God, ask for forgiveness, and accept His free gift of life and love for you! Christ died so that we do not have to spend eternity away from Him. And while this life we currently live won’t be perfect, we can have His strength to get through it. If you can get hold of a Bible, I would encourage you to read the book of Matthew. It is a great place to learn about Jesus 🙂 Also, if you do a Google search for the “Roman Road” it will lay out the plan of salvation through scriptures found in Romans in the Bible. I will pray for you 🙂

    2. Sandra says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Just posted here and saw your comment. Welcome the Holy Spirit in your life, cultivate your relationship with Jesus and be sure to.find a home church can fellowship and receive the.word of God.
      Read Luke 23:39-43. These are Jesus’ words concerning where the dead in Christ.go.

  8. Scott Bell says:

    When Jesus was on the cross he told the thief that accepted Him that TODAY you shall be with me in paradise not tomorrow or next year BUT TODAY. End of story! So you better hurry up and accept Jesus so he will forgive you of your sins.

  9. Teresa Hurley says:

    Great to know to be absent from the body is to be present with God:)

  10. Vera says:

    Dear Tiffany,
    God loves you and he has forgiven your sins. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Let go of you guilt and shame and trust God and his word.