What Comes After?
Consider the words of the king in Ecclesiastes 1:9:
“That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”
In Ecclesiastes, the king considers life and the futility found in all the ways it may be lived, because every manner of life ends in death. If earthly life is its own end, then it is truly pointless. But this is not the whole message of Ecclesiastes. The rest of the king’s message is found by answering the question, “What comes after life?” (Ecc. 3:22; 6:12; 10:14). Through Ecclesiastes, the king shows his listeners that life itself is not the point of life. Life ends for all, no matter how it is lived. After life, the king says, “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7). If this were the end, if our existence ceased at death, then all would be vain; there truly would be no purpose to our existence. But this is not the end. After death, Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, “…God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
It is in this verse that the message of Ecclesiastes is made clear. The purpose of life is to find approval from God when you are judged. The only way to accomplish that goal is found in Ecclesiastes 12:13, the conclusion of everything the king has said: “fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
Every person is given life from God. After life is over, every person will be judged by God according to their actions. Nobody will be acceptable to God by their own merit (Rom. 3:23), but through the sacrifice of Christ, every person can be made clean in the eyes of God (Rom. 5:8-9). Jesus’ death will justify you in God’s eyes when you are baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Rom. 6:3-7). From that point forward, you are viewed as acceptable in the eyes of God if you continue living according to His standard of righteousness (Rom. 6:12-13). Those who find themselves without the aid of Christ at the judgment will enter eternal suffering, while those in Christ will enter eternal life (Matt. 25:46).
Where are you headed?