When someone dies, do they go to heaven immediately, or do they have to wait until the end of time before they can go into God's presence? My wife died a few months ago, and I worry about this. — J.F.
You should not worry; the Bible clearly teaches that if we know Christ, we are safely in God's hands forever when we die, and that nothing "in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
Does this mean we immediately enter heaven when we die? My own study of the Bible has convinced me that we do. This is reflected in many passages in the Bible. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25). The Apostle Paul wrote, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23). The Bible also says, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
We need to remember, however, one additional truth: At the end of this present age, God will reunite our souls and our bodies. In fact, we will be given new bodies—bodies that will be similar to Christ's body after His resurrection. They will never experience illness or pain, and they will never grow old.
Take comfort in the fact that your wife is now safely beyond all the pain and dangers of this life, and she now dwells in God's presence forever. And this is your destiny too, and the destiny of every person who truly trusts Christ for their salvation.