I was recently asked some really great questions, and wanted to try to answer them here just in case others may be wondering the same thing.
Here's the questions:
"What happens to us when we die? i mean i have been to funerals all my life and you see the person there...their physical self anyways, but their soul...the person who they were, that made them who they were is gone? i find it so hard to comprehend at times. And if it is to heaven that we go is it actually our physical selves or what?
And how are we guaranteed to go to heaven? Do you have to accomplish certain things or live your life in such a way that God approves?
Another thing that i have always been curious about is the new world they talk about...do you think that will happen?"
I'm wondering if you have a good Bible that you could look up some of these passages that I may point out to you. I don't want you to take my word for this stuff, but actually see that what I'm giving you is from the Bible, which I fully believe is God's message to us - teaching us answers to life's questions like the ones you are asking.
In Genesis 2:7, we read that God made you and me "from the dust of the ground" but that physical form did not make us alive. Instead, that was just a person-shaped clump of dirt. It wasn't until God "breathed the breath of life" into that person-shaped clump of dirt did we became living being. So that means that we are not made as physical beings. We are actually Spiritual beings. Our bodies are just "earth suits" that our God-given Spirits live in during these 70 or 80 or 90 short years that we live here on this earth! So when a person dies, that simply means that their "clump of dirt" earth suit stopped working, but the Spirit lives on because we are eternal beings. We would have no use for an earthly body in eternity. In 1 Corinthians 15 it tells us about this difference between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. Earthly bodies are perishable, dishonorable, weak and natural. But heavenly bodies are imperishable, glorious, powerful and Spiritual, and flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God.
So earthly bodies return to dust, but the Spirit lives on either in eternal separation from God (hell), or to live in the presence of God forever in Heaven.
And where we spend eternity is not left up to chance or a guessing game. You can KNOW where you will spend eternity by simply answering this question both with your mouth and in your heart: Do you believe that Jesus lived to show you God's love, died on the cross to pay the price for your sin, and lived again to defeat death for you; and are you willing to repent of your sin and let Him be the Lord of your life? That is what we find in these verses:
John 3:16, "For God so much loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not die, but have everlasting life."
Romans 10:8-11, "The Word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the Word of faith we are proclaiming; that if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."
And Revelation 4:19-20, "So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
So, spending eternity in heaven really is not attainable by anything we can DO on this earth. It's found in something that has already been DONE! Jesus, by dying for us on the cross, has paid the price for your sin and mine. All we need to do is believe and accept what HE has DONE as the payment for our sin and we will be forgiven and made right in the sight of our Holy God. People who know about God's love for them, yet never surrender their lives to God and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus will spend eternity separated from God in Hell.
Basically, if you spend your life saying, "God, I don't want anything to do with you", in eternity, you'll get your wish!
If you spend your life saying, "God, I love you, and I want to give my life to You", in eternity, you'll get your wish as well!
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "the new world". The book of Revelation does let us know that one day Satan's power will be locked away forever and all who have trusted in Christ will live in a new world with God forever. Yes, I believe that will be true, and will happen. But I don't think it's helpful for people to worry too much about the specific details about how the world will end. What is important is that we know this world, and our own lives, ARE going to end someday, and ARE YOU READY for that day?!
Jesus loves you so much right now that He came to this earth and died on the cross for you. He wants you to come to Him and trust in Him and live your life following Him, and He will take care of us in this life and in the next! That's the faith and hope that I rest in and live my life by every day!
I'm praying for you as you consider the truth of Jesus and His love!