The Bible states in the book of Hebrews that it is appointed once for a person to die and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This is true of a person who is not born again. However, if a person is a true believer who has had an encounter with the living God, His love, and has a relationship with the Son of God, Jesus, then this is not true. Let me explain briefly.
I was spending time in the sunshine paddling my kayak on a lake that was as flat and calm as a mirror. It was a great day to move slowly through the water and watch the eagles, the pelicans, and other assorted wildlife. I found a small sandy piece of shore and stopped to eat my cheese and crackers as well as my apple. Throughout this peaceful time I was thinking of a wonderful lady who died a few days ago. A friend. A fellow traveller in the faith. A faithful believer who loved the Lord with her whole heart.
Verses floated through my pastor’s mind …
“There is a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
“If there is no resurrection from the dead then we are fools to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
“In My Father’s house there are many rooms and I go to prepare a place for you”. (John 14:2-3)
“He ((Jesus) gives us victory over sin and death” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
“We are born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3)
When a person does not know Jesus as His personal Lord and Saviour, is not born again, then when that person dies he or she is judged. Not for their sins which remain unrepented for and thus unforgiven. The Bible states that they will be judged strictly on the fact that they rejected the only solution for sin and the only way into eternity with God the Father in heaven.
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
So, it is appointed for a non-believer to die and then the judgment…”
A person who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and is thus truly born again and a Christian by biblical definition and standards… their physical death at the end of their lives is not “once to die and then the judgment.” Their physical death is really their second death.
You are born physically into this world. This is your first birth. But you then need to be born again – born spiritually by accepting the fact that you are a sinner, that your sin separates you from God. That God loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for your sin and shed His blood for the forgiveness of your sins. And, if you will respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and experience godly sorrow then you will sincerely repent and receive God’s forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. (References: Isaiah 59:1-2; John 3:3-8; Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23a, Romans 5:8; Romans 6:23b; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
So, born physically – and a second birth when you are born spiritually, born again.
When you are born again the book of Romans says that you have died. Died with Christ and been raised again to new life. No longer walking in the flesh but moving in the spirit. No longer living by sight but living by faith. You have become a new creature and all old things have passed away. This is the FIRST DEATH a believer experiences.
Romans 6:3-4 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
We were buried with Him by baptism … and only dead people are buried. This is the first death. Then when a believer dies it is the second death. Said another way, a believer dies to self and lives for Jesus – a spiritual death and resurrection. Then, he or she dies physically – the second death – and raised with a glorious physical body as Jesus was. Amazing.
So, Paul states, “It is not I that lives but Christ who lives through me” (Galatians 2:20)
My point: When a true believer physically dies and moves on in life to eternity it is truly their second death. They have, on their day of salvation, already died to self and made Jesus Lord – the first death…..