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Can a Person Be Saved After Their Death?

This article was written on the day that  Rob Bell and his very controversial book titled, “Love Wins” came out on the market.

For those of you who do not know about Rob Bell, he is a Christian pastor from Michigan who is trying to say that everyone will eventually end up in heaven. He is thus trying to take out the doctrine of hell and eternal damnation from our Bible.

His theory is that God’s love is so powerful and overwhelming, that it will eventually melt the hearts of every single person, thus no one will ever end up in hell for all of eternity.

He now has left the church he has been pastoring since 1999 and is seeking to spread his message of Universalism to a wider and broader audience. We feel he is going to be doing some serious damage to a lot of the people who are on the fence post with the Lord regarding their eternal salvation in Him.

With Rob now being a full-pledged Universalist, this now brings up the question that I want to address with this specific article. And that question is – can people get saved after they die and cross over, or do they have to get saved and born again before their death and departure from this world?

If Universalists believe that everyone will eventually get saved, then some of these people are going to have to get saved after they die and cross over, since many people will never find and accept Jesus this side of heaven.

As you will see in the specific Scripture verses I will give you in this article, God is making it very clear and very plain that we have to accept His free gift of eternal salvation through His Son Jesus this side of heaven, not the next. In other words, we only have this one earthly lifetime to find and accept Jesus, and we have to do it before we die and leave this world. If we think we can do it after we die and cross over, we will find out very quickly that we were sadly mistaken and will thus have to pay with our eternal lives in the most horrible place imaginable.

This is why what Rob Bell and the rest of the Universalists are preaching is so deadly and so dangerous. If someone is on the fence post with the Lord regarding their eternal salvation in Him, and then they hear a message from a Universalist like Rob Bell telling them they can still get saved with Jesus after they die and cross over, can you see what this will do to some of these people?

It will get them to put off making this life-altering decision until either later in their life or when they die and cross over. They will see no need or have any desire to want to repent since their sins will be forgiven anyway once they die and meet Jesus face-to-face for their eternal salvation. As a result, many people are going to be led straight into the pits of hell once they die and cross over as a result of putting off accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior in this one earthly lifetime in which they had to do it in.

How some of these Christian pastors are falling for this demonic doctrine of Univeralsim is simply beyond me, as it goes directly against what God is telling us in His written Word on how He has the big picture set up with all of us.

Now I will go to the specific Scripture verses which will answer this question once and for all since these verses are all coming direct from the mouth of the Lord Himself.

The Scripture Verses

Study the specific wording I will now give you in these Scripture verses very, very carefully, as they will all clearly answer this question for you as to whether or not a person can get saved after their death and departure from this world.

Once again, I believe God is meaning exactly what He is saying in each one of these verses, and I thus see no room for any type of Universalistic doctrine in any of these verses.

1. It is Appointed For Men to Die Once – And Then We Face Judgment

This first verse, in my opinion, completely answers this question as to whether or not we can still get saved after our death and departure from this world. Here is the verse, and then I will point out a few key things to really grab a hold of.

“And as it is appointed for men to DIE ONCE, but after this the judgment …” (Hebrew 9:27)

Notice the following:

a)  If God ever had any opening in one of His verses to let all of us know that we could still receive eternal salvation through His Son Jesus after we had already died and crossed over, this verse would be it. If this was a possibility with the Lord, then I believe He would have put that kind of statement in this verse. But notice He did not.

This verse is flat out telling us that we will only get one earthly lifetime to get our act together with Him. We are not going to be reincarnated back into another body to get several more chances to find and accept Jesus this side of heaven. We only have one earthly lifetime in which to be able to do this.

b)  And then notice what it says after our one earthly lifetime is up down here – we will then all face judgment with God Almighty Himself. There is no wording whatsoever that we will get some kind of extra time on the other side to find and accept Jesus.

This verse is telling us that we are going to face judgment – and this judgment is going to be based on what we have done down here on this earth. There is nothing in this verse that will tell us that we will be judged on anything we will be doing on the other side once we die and cross over into it.

If God ever had one verse with a big huge opening in it where He could tell us that we could get saved after our deaths, this verse would be it. There is an opening in this verse wide enough and big enough to drive a mack truck through. But notice how short, sweet, and very straight-forward and direct-to-the-point this verse is.

Bottom line – we only have this one life down here on this earth to live, and after this one life has been lived, we will then die and cross over to face God for our own personal judgments on our lives. And again, this judgment is based upon what we have done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once we have died and crossed over.

The fact that God is completely leaving out any kind of possibility that we could get saved on the other side of heaven is flat out telling me this is not even a possibility with Him. We thus have to take this very serious verse at face value and believe what it is directly telling us. We cannot try and take this verse out, or try to discount it because it does not agree with how we think God should have the big picture all set up.

2. God Will Judge Us For the Works That Were Done in the Body

These next 4 verses are now going to add more to the first verse above. These 4 verses are specifically talking about all saved and born-again Christians. The first verse will completely set the stage for all of us.

This first verse is telling us that we will all have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Jesus, and from there, we will be judged for the things we have done in the body. The 4 keys words to really hone in on are things that we have “done in the body.”

I believe the word “body” is referring to our earthly, human, physical bodies. As a result, we will all be judged for the things we have done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over. And again, if there was any kind of possibility that we would also be judged for things that might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over, then Jesus would have specifically told us so in this verse.

But when Jesus is specifically isolating all of the things we have done in our earthly physical bodies as to what will be judged, then you know He is talking about what we have done down here on this earth. This thus leaves no room or any kind of possibility that we can get saved on the other side of heaven.

Here are four more good verses to add into this argument:

  • “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things DONE IN THE BODY, according to what He has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • “… and each one will receive His own reward ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR.” (1 Corinthians 3:8)
  • “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone ACCORDING TO HIS WORK.” (Revelation 22:12)
  • “… I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS.” (Revelation 2:23)

The last three verses are all stating the same thing, that we are going to be rewarded by Jesus for the labor and works we have done for Him down here on this earth. And again, these are for works and labors that are done down here on this earth, not for might have occurred up in heaven once we had entered there.

Again, if there was any possibility that we could get saved up in heaven, then Jesus would have put that kind of specific wording in all 4 of these verses.

3. The Great White Throne Judgment

If all Christians will come before the Judgment Seat of Jesus for their own personal judgments in Him, then what kind of judgment will all of the unsaved have to face before the Lord?

This next verse will answer this question for you, and this judgment is called the Great White Throne Judgment. Here is the verse, and then I will point a few key things in this verse to really grab a hold of:

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.

And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-14)

Notice several key things in this verse:

a)  This judgment is only for the unsaved, it is not for all born-again Christians. How do you know this? Because this passage is using the words that the “dead” are the ones who are appearing before the Lord for this final judgment.

Also note the wording that “Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.” This phrase is telling you that all of the people who are appearing before the Lord in this last and final judgment are all coming from Hades, which is where they have all been during the 1000 year millennial reign of Jesus.

Born-again Christians are not dead, we are all fully alive, especially since we have now all died and entered into heaven, and then came back down with Jesus to rule with Him during the 1000 year Millennium Kingdom.

And then notice what the dead are being judged for? They are being “judged according to their works.” And again, these are works that were done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once they had died and crossed over.

b)  Again, if there was any possibility that the unsaved could get saved once they die and cross over, this verse would definitely be telling us this. But once again, it does not. As such, we cannot attempt to add something to this verse that is not in there.

This verse, along with the 4 verses above about Jesus rewarding and judging us for what we have all done in the body, are all showing us that both of these judgments will be made on what we have done down here on this earth, not for might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over.

How any Christian can fall for the doctrine of Universalism, when these kinds of verses from Scripture are all so clear and plain is just beyond me. If you believe that all of the Holy Bible is truly the inspired and infallible Word of our Holy God, then there is simply no other conclusion you can come to on this topic.

4. The Rich Man and Lazarus

The last verse I will leave you with that will also answer this question is the one on Lazarus and the rich man. After they had both died, Lazarus goes straight to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man ends up going straight down into hell for the kind of life he had lived.

And then notice what happens next. The rich man is crying out that he is burning alive in a flame of fire. And then Abraham answers the rich man telling him that it is now too late. There is a great gulf separating these two places from one another and the rich man cannot cross over into Abraham’s bosom where Lazarus is now at.

Also notice the rich man says absolutely nothing about being able to make it right with the Lord after he had died and entered into hell. The implication is all there that this rich man immediately entered into hell right after his death. This verse is thus confirming the first verse listed above that we are appointed to die once, and then when we die, judgment is then set on our lives as to where we will end up going.

Again, this is another verse where there is a huge opening for the Lord to tell us that we can get saved after we die. But once again, there is absolutely no wording whatsoever in this verse that we can do this with the Lord. This verse is following the same pattern as the rest of the above verses are doing, all showing us that we have to find and accept Jesus in this one earthly lifetime.

Here is this verse, once more driving home the point that we have to get saved this side of heaven, not the next side:

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.

Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

And being in torments in Hades (Hell), he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’

But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to them, ‘If they did not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)

Conclusion

If there was any kind of possibility that we could get saved after our death and departure from this world, then I believe God would be telling us so in these kinds of verses. But since He is not, we have to take Him at His Word and believe what these verses are literally telling us.

As we have said in our article titled, “The Reality of Hell,” the doctrine of hell and eternal damnation is without question, the most gut-wrenching and heart-breaking doctrine in all of the Christian faith. But just because this doctrine may not agree with how we would have arranged for the big picture to be set up does not mean we can try and discount it or take this doctrine out of our Bible.

This is the way our God has the big picture all set up, and woe to any man or woman who will try and take this doctrine out of our basic tenets and try to replace it with the false doctrine of Universalism. With all of us only having one short lifetime in which to find and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, these Christians who are now teaching this false doctrine are treading on extremely dangerous and serious grounds with God the Father.

This false heretical doctrine is going to lead a certain amount of people into hell because they will think they have all of the time in the world to accept God’s free gift of eternal salvation through His Son Jesus, even to the point of believing they can accept this gift once they die and cross over to the other side.

To any of you who know other Christians who have fallen for this demonic doctrine, we ask that you continue to pray for them, asking God to bolt in there with His divine truth so they can get their wrong thinking straightened out on this very important issue.

We already have enough people who are going to end up in hell due to their own stupidity, stubbornness, and rebellion without making matters worse and teaching this kind of insanity, which is going to lead them even more astray from what the real truth is on how God has the big picture story of redemption all set up for the human race.

Elijah Joshua

Thursday 28th of October 2021

Well the word of God is powerful, all Christian who are true believers must know that without being born again, you can not enter the kingdom of God. The scripture in (Matthew 10:33) But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Every work that we have done on earth, a day will come that we have to answer them one by one, so to get out of this is to give our lives to Jesus Christ our personal Lord and savor.

You can't be saved if you don't have the word of Christ in you. you must understand the principle and the way God acted. so, therefore, Heaven is a place here God has prepared for his own children to come without any obstacle when we all are called.

No one comes to Jesus and goes back empty-handed.

Richard

Sunday 24th of October 2021

You refuted universalism. You did not refute the possibility of salvation after death. For example, if you say one dies and then the judgment...this does not mean a person cannot get saved after death. Everyone will be judged in some capacity. So, which judgment depends on if you are saved or not. This verse says nothing about whether you can get saved after death or not.

Another example...the rich man and Lazarus - you said the rich man did not ask for salvation. But what if he had? The fact that he did not ask for salvation shows he did not want to be saved. It does not show that a person cannot ask for salvation and be saved.

Robert A

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

Why do you condemn people for not accepting Christ when Jesus said very plainly that nobody comes to Him *unless* the Father has enabled them? Did I miss that explanation somewhere? When I look at a non-believer there’s no way I can know if they rejected Jesus or weren’t called by the Father in the first place. There’s other problems with this article and one of them is that it keeps saying “once you die and cross over...” That isn’t the way it happens. Those are two separate events. When a person dies they don’t immediately cross over and they don’t immediately go to hell. There’s a life review and judgement in the spirit world between heaven and hell to determine their fate, If that were to happen after crossing over into heaven then some souls would be getting kicked back out of heaven. If a person hasn’t accepted Christ then I don’t believe they would be crossing over in the first place. I base my beliefs on the Bible (not the conflated interpretation here) and empirical evidence available to us such as Near Death Experiences. There are countless numbers of non-believers, even atheists that medically died, went to a beautiful place and met Jesus coming back again reborn as believers. Or do you contend they never died? I do believe Christ is the only way, but because nobody can say for certain what happens immediately after we die rather than judge non-believers as goners I simply have faith and trust that the Lord has a plan for them. God’s capacity for love is light years beyond what we humans are capable of grasping. It’s man that focuses on hell & damnation and in interviews I shot a few years ago at a film festival I discovered it’s this threat that has turned so many people away from the church. They look at it like “why would a loving God condemn me?” Maybe if we focused instead on God’s love then Free Will would make more sense. It’s not Free Will if I’m never enabled in the first place and threats of damnation are attached to my decision. Or are you of the camp that God already knows their hearts so He doesn’t even bother?

J Mayo

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Truth. Jesus in KJV, Matthew 18:4,5,6 says,

"Therefore whoever humbles himself as little children is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

BUT whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Any person that misleads Gods children (we're all his children) will be punished. The internet is world wide source that reaches millions. Articles that are not based on scripture and spread world wide can do harm to many people.

Revelation 22:18,19 says, If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.

And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy. God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

God warns man not to change his word. When you teach or lead, make sure it is from the scriptures.

Love answer

Tuesday 31st of March 2015

This is a very, right to the heart topic. The Bible teaches that there is only one way to know truth. It is good that believers seek, for Jesus told us seek and we will find. These internet articles are good if you want to know what other believers think or believe and are just that, their experience or their testimony what they believe. Jesus told us to seek truth through the Holy Spirit and he will teach you all things and the Bible is what the Holy Spirit himself lead others to write about that truth. All of us who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior learn through the heart and the mind that we are saved by him. That same heart felt knowledge is the only way anyone of us can know for he is in us. We can not give that to anyone, we only can tell others that Love opened our hearts so truth is given by the Grace of God, not by I believe this and you believe that. The Bible has many true stories of what God allowed to be written to all to read, unbelievers and believers and what happened to his people and the consequences of all our own choices that was his free gift to all, free will free choice. The all important gift of the blood of Jesus Christ and his resurrection can be chosen by the same free gift of free will that each of us has, if free choice by free will is it work? Then it still remains, God will have mercy on those who he choses and none of us can tell him who is saved or who is not, but we as believers have been given a choice and by the Love that he has shown us we freely accept or we don't. What he plainly speaks of in the Bible about Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that will be given to anyone who believes in him, we either accept it as he gives it or we chose to make the Bible say what we want it to say. The Holy Spirit will teach us, God the Father said, in the Last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh and they will know me. This Love that he has and gives can not be explained by men, it can only be received and that comes by Grace by our accepting it by our own free will. We believers can not know about others choices but we can tell them about ours and that will be through the Grace of the Holy Spirit and our words should be his and our actions should prove to others that he is in us. Maybe that is why Paul said, if we have faith, why do we act like we do not.

Susan Grall-Browning

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Wow! That reply was definately by assistance of The Holy Spirit. May I use this very eloquently written reply? In quotes of course. I could only get as far as Christianity can't be explained, it can only be experienced. I do believe the greater our faith, the greater our experience. Where what Paul said is concerned, I explain those passages about the way we still act at times being our old sinful nature not wanting The Holy Spirit that is now within us to take hold. An inward Armageoddon if you will. Unless we choose to grow through His Word and allow The Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us on a daily basis, we will become stagnant and be part of those Christ refers to as loving Him the least or being the least in His Kingdom.