What happens to our loved ones beyond the grave if God was not a part of their life, but they didn’t live like the devil and lived a more moral life than many who claimed to trust God? I wrote on this recently but due to the importance of this subject, I have summarized reasons why we can hope and give others hope in difficult times that God is a God of many chances:
- It cannot be claimed that posthumous salvation is unquestionably taught in the Bible; it cannot be claimed that posthumous salvation is unquestionably rejected in the Bible. The Bible cannot be used to decide whether God’s grace ends after death regarding one’s destiny, so we must decide this matter based on what the Bible says in general about God’s character and how we sense a loving God would respond to all after death. This doesn’t suggest all claims are true. Beheading one for their personal beliefs is evil. But, the Bible encourages us to be perfect like God so we must have an awareness of what perfect love is (Mt. 5:48).
- It is likely God shows grace and mercy beyond the grave or then humans would be better lovers than God. It doesn’t matter what horrible deeds your child has done or if they seek forgiveness at the last minute. You are going to celebrate and forgive your child. Do we really think God is going to stop showing grace at the moment of one’s last breathe?
- There is surely no time limit on God’s forgiveness. The Bible clearly teaches forgiveness is unlimited (i.e. Mt. 18:21-22). This attribute of God strongly suggests God would forgive one more time when meeting God if truly trusting in God and regretting one’s actions. God’s core is mercy. God’s can’t stop being merciful after death!
- Our beliefs are often determined by where we were born or the family we were born into. Our destiny cannot be based on certain beliefs found only in the Bible when the majority of people born into this world had no access to such information. Those with a Bible may have misunderstood God either because of poor role-models or what others taught about God. Freedom was necessary in this world for the possibility of authentic relationships, but God is not going to let one final destiny be controlled by others. Meeting God will clear up any confusion and remove any causes that led to erroneous thinking.
- God’s purpose for justice isn’t to pay a price but restoration. What does it say about a God that requires suffering that has no possibility for good. No punishment can return one’s robbed memories because of sexual abuse or murder of a loved one. Victims have the hope of true justice which is the guilty being forced to understand their victim’s pain and accept the harmfulness of their actions. After death God may bring to memory every action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. We like God may forgive our tormenters if they truly regret their actions and seek forgiveness. Believers and unbelievers of God here on earth may go through the same process of justice, some having more regrets than others.
- When we cannot claim certainty, we can do more harm by telling others God is not a God of second changes than the possibility that God’s grace does not stop at the moment of death. If two debatable opinions exist, we must err on the side that portrays God as the most relational and rational to the human mind. Our biblical interpretations must be plausible based on what a loving God should be like since this is the very essence of God (I Jn. 4:16).
There are advantages to trusting God while here on earth. Jesus didn’t come to save us from consequences only after death. God wanted us to experience true living here on earth. Jesus’ message of love is what leads to true freedom and peace of mind here on earth. Who thinks their toys are more important than their relationships on their deathbed? What regrets are there living out the message by Jesus who represented God here on earth? Heaven is a time for celebrating one’s life and refuge for those who have suffered greatly. There is no greater authority to be under than a graceful, just, forgiving, loving God.