Most religions agree that your status in the afterlife will depend on how well or how poorly you lived in this life. In other words, if you were a good person, you will be rewarded in the next life. If you were a bad person, you will be punished.
Not every religion or view about the afterlife believes in a continuation of life. Some people believe that after death you will cease to exist. Christianity, on the other hand, affirms a continuation of life, and this is based not on speculation, but on fact.
It sounds overconfident (especially in an age of skepticism) to assert that we can know for sure what will happen to us after we die, but the fact of the matter is, we do know!
The Christian's confidence and knowledge of the afterlife depend not upon the ability to gaze into the future, like some palm reader, but on looking back at the past to just two thousand years ago in the small region of Palestine. There, a man named Jesus claimed to be God—and proved it.
Those who trust in Christ as their Savior shall be raised even as he was raised. The resurrection of Jesus Christ in the first century is the primary reason for the believer’s confidence in this future reality.
Because Jesus has already been raised from the dead in real time, space, and history, all Christians can be certain that—for all of those who look to him in faith—they too shall be raised. This is God's promise to us and was accomplished for our benefit (Rom. 4:23–25).
The apostle Paul believed this and lodged his hope in the secure foundation of Christ's bodily resurrection from the dead. He said:
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:14–20)
Our hope about the future rests secure in this historical fact from the past.
In his book, Core Christianity, Michael Horton lays out numerous reasons to believe in the resurrection: the cowardly disciples, the testimony of women, Peter's transformation, and the martyrdom of the earliest disciples all testify to the veracity of the resurrection. Suffice it to say that there are many good reasons to trust that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the grave. His bodily resurrection in the past is our hope for the future.
What happened to Jesus will happen to all those who believe. We will be raised.
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