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What Will Happen When You Die?

Man Is Made Up of Three Parts

Every man, woman, boy, and girl is made up of three parts. Those three parts are known as spirit, soul, and body. This can be seen in 1Thessalonians 5:23, where the Bible says, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Man is one in his being, but consists of three unique and distinct parts. The body is the part that can be seen by others. It is the shell in which man lives. The spirit (not the Holy Spirit, but man's spirit) is the part of man that communicates with God. Prior to salvation, this spirit is dead and must be made alive. The soul is the real person. It is the part of man that goes on to exist in eternity. It is man's decision maker.

What Is Death?

Many have tried to define the events surrounding death, but the Bible gives us two circumstances that truly define it. First, death is connected to the departure of the soul. Genesis 35:18 says, “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died)…” Secondly, death is the departure of the spirit. According to Genesis 25:8, "Abraham gave up the ghost, and died." Obviously, death occurs when man's soul and spirit leave his body.

What Happens to the Saved?

The future of the saved is often considered in a general sense, but what is true of his specific component parts? The body of a saved man may be laid to rest in a number of ways, but eventually his body gives way to “corruption,” i.e., (it rots, or decomposes). According to Ecclesiastes 3:21, man's spirit goes upward at the point of death. Ecclesiastes 12:7 further explains this by saying, “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Man's soul, on the other hand, is the part that will dwell in one of two places at death. It is the part of man that makes a decision either to trust Christ as Saviour or to reject Him. As such, it should come as no surprise that the apostle Paul said of his soul, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). After all, it is the soul of man that is saved (1 Peter 1:9).

Perhaps the chart below will provide better understanding of the events surrounding death.

Part of Man The Saved Man
Body Corruption
Spirit Returns to God
Soul Eternity in Heaven

What Happens to the Lost?

The lost man's (a man who has not trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour) future shares some commonality with that of the saved, but where it matters most, they could not be more diverse. Like the saved, the body of a lost person may be laid to rest in a variety of ways, but the body will yield to corruption. It may be surprising, but the Bible actually teaches that the spirit of a lost person returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). After all, the Lord is “The God of the spirits of all flesh” (Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16). Furthermore, the spirit of man is his communicator with God. The fact that the spirit of man will not go to hell with his soul means that man will have absolutely no way to communicate with God from hell. What a horrible thought! If that were not enough, the sinner's soul will spend an eternity in hell and eventually the lake of fire. This truth can be plainly seen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus where the rich man died, and was buried, and “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23). For clarity, hell is a place of unquenchable fire and everlasting torment.

Perhaps the following chart will help to clarify these points.

Part of Man The Lost Man
Body Corruption
Spirit Returns to God
Soul Eternity in Hell