Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)
TITLE: Departure Time
By Doug Laird
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In the spiritual realm, when I think of checking out, it is the inevitable departure from this earth and entering into the eternal state that comes to mind.
Most of the human race, including many of those who claim to be Christians, look at our earthly departure with anxiety and fear (Hebrews 2:15). The spiritually mature believer, however, looks forward to his/her departure with great anticipation.
The spiritually mature believer (Phil.1:23) will come to the point in his/her walk with God that, if given the choice, would find it hard to choose between remaining here on earth, glorifying God, or choosing to to go home and be with the Lord.
While not being any less saved as a result, most believers never reach the level of spiritual maturity that would provide them with this confidence and the attitude of an advanced disciple.
Although God does not negotiate the circumstances of our individual departure, considering how we WOULD respond to such a choice can reveal to us if we are primarily living for the here and now or for the things of God.
The spiritually mature believer does not want to go home before he/she has completed ALL of the work that God has ordained for him/her, but looks forward to the time when that is behind him/her and he/she is taken home via the Rapture (1Thessalonians 4: 14-17) or physical death.
For many, the process of death will be the greatest or the worst testimony of his/her faith. How one looks at such things speaks volumes about the faith (or lack of it) in his/her soul.
In my personal life and over the course of my 30 year law enforcement career, I have seen where checking out can come quickly and unexpectedly and it can come with a prolonged process with degrees of agonizing and calculated prediction.
As a stage three cancer survivor, I can tell you that there is perhaps no greater faith-building experience than to face the genuine possibility that one’s death may be forthcoming in a short period of time. It is in such times that the quality of your faith is revealed.
Although it is at check out time that we will meet our Maker face to face, it is not the time that we are to get to know Him. Through true discipleship, that being the daily intake of the Word of God, we CAN get to know God quite well. If we have mastered the “mind of Christ (1Cor.2:16 NASB) and have walked with the Lord during the course of our post salvation spiritual life, checking out will be like going home to see an old, old, friend.
For believers who never developed an edified soul structure, their perception of meeting their Maker is more like a time to pay the fiddler.
There is not ONE soul in a cemetery, grave, or urn, only bodily remains. Attempts to communicate with those who have departed (Deut.18:10) is forbidden in Scripture.
The souls of believers do NOT “rest in peace” along side of their decomposing bodies or among the ashes in an urn. “Resting in peace’ is a conscious experience in Heaven, in which the mature believer “rests” from all the divine labor he/she accomplished while on earth.
The souls of ALL born again (John 3:3) believers who depart this earth before the Rapture are in interim (2Cor.5:3) bodies in Heaven. They are there, awaiting the Rapture, when they and the believers on the Earth are united with Lord in the air above the Earth (1Thessalonians 4).
EVERY human soul has “everlasting” life that never dies. This is the “likeness” that God creates Gen. 1:26). Accordingly, life after death is not a question of “if”, but where and how it will be experienced by an given individual.
Without the eternal life of God (John 3:16) and a regen-erated spirit (Titus 3:5), unbelieving souls find them-selves in the torments of Hades upon departing this earth, and eventually will find themselves in what the Bible calls the lake of fire for all of eternity (Rev.20:13-15).
No one knows if we will check out via the express line of sudden death or the Rapture or in a seemingly endless line of suffering, but there IS a time coming when we will all be called to check out.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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