You Can Only Die Once!

by Gloria Copeland

Of all the things you have ever done in your life—and of all the things you will ever do—leaving this earth will certainly be the easiest. I assure you, going from here to heaven will be the smoothest transition you’ve ever made because God will just take over. He will literally take charge of your move. In fact, He’ll send His angels to escort you into glory!

“Gloria, what exactly are you talking about?”

I’m talking about dying. Too many people are afraid of dying, but if you are born again, you’ve done all the dying you’re ever going to do.

When I think about it, I’ve not heard many sermons on this. I believe it’s because too many people don’t understand death. They’re afraid of it, and they just don’t want to talk about it.

But God never intended for us to be afraid of anything, including death. Jesus defeated death for each one of us so we could be free from such fear. Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

Death is a defeated enemy, and personally, I know I’ll never see or taste death. If you’ve been born again, you won’t either. But that won’t stop Satan from harassing you. He will do his best to hold you in bondage to the fear of death as long as you’ll allow him.

You Will Live Forever

When I made Jesus the Lord of my life more than 35 years ago, the part of me that was born again was my spirit—or what is also called the inner man or the heart. When I made that life-changing decision, I (my inner, natural man) died, and there was put into me a new life—what Jesus called eternal life. This eternal life is the very life of God, and it is this life inside each one of us that has overcome death.

Galatians 2:20 explains this very well: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ [the Anointed One and His Anointing, the very life of God] liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

So my inner man (and yours if you are born again) died and a new spirit created by God after His righteousness and holiness replaced that “sin” man. We are now full of the life of God. Colossians 3:3-4 says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

When you bring God’s life face to face with death, death is abolished. That is what happened when Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus took on death for us, and when the resurrection life and power of God raised Him from the dead, that life defeated death and made Jesus alive...eternally!

In the same way, if my natural body were to die today, and my family were to have a funeral, someone who doesn’t understand death might look at me and say, “We are so sorry she’s dead.”

But if they said that, they’d be wrong. I wouldn’t be dead. I’d just be gone!

As a believer, I am a spirit being. I am eternal because I have been born of God and have His eternal life inside of me.

You know, even the doctors might say of me, lying there in that box, “She had heart failure. She had liver failure. Even her kidneys quit.” Well, no kidding! When I leave, everything is going to quit because I AM THE LIFE OF MY BODY! My body is just an “earth suit.” It has no life in it, and when the real me—my spirit—leaves, it will be an empty suit.

My point is this: I have already died. I died when I was born again. So I can’t die again—and neither can you. We have been crucified.

To a natural-minded person, dying means losing one’s life. But from the Bible, you know that’s what happened when you were born again. Your old man died, and you were born again into a new life. You passed from death into the life of God. The Greek word metabaino, translated passed in I John 3:14, means “to remove, up and over.” When you were born again you went “up and over” death, never to see it again! So, what we need to do now is renew our minds to think like God thinks. We need to see death the way He does. Psalms 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” He doesn’t take our homecoming lightly.

Different View of Death

The Lord told Kenneth E. Hagin one time, I don’t look at death the way people do. In fact, I never see My children dying, because they don’t die.

“Well, what do they do, Gloria?” They leave! They just go home.

To God, what we call dying is just our spirits changing addresses—moving from earth to heaven.

Death is separation.

For example, when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he died spiritually, and that spiritual death caused him to be separated from God. He lost his glory and the supernatural protection of the life of God. His body became vulnerable and physical death followed.

If Adam had never been separated from God—if he’d never sinned and become spiritually dead—he would not have died physically because he was created righteous and death was not in him. He was made in God’s image, and there is no sin or death in God. But when Adam sinned, his union with God was broken and his source—his eternal life source—was gone. He died spiritually. The battery went dead. The light went out. Sin brought him short of the glory and the life of God.

Jesus had to come, pay the penalty for Adam’s sin, shed blood to eradicate that sin from man and bring him back to life—eternal life. Glory to God and to our Savior Jesus, the Anointed One! The spirit—the part of you that makes you who you are—will go to heaven. It will live forever.

Now, when I say live forever, I don’t mean as some “Casper, the Friendly Ghost-type” character, floating around somewhere. When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not become a ghost. He no longer had a physical body as we know it, but He did have form.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples:

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them (Luke 24:39-43).

Jesus was real. He could be felt. He was firm to the touch in the natural world, and that’s how our immortal bodies will be.

When you learn how God thinks about dying, the fear of death will lose its grip on you. The more real the spirit realm becomes to you, the less of a threat death will be. Death is an enemy.

When You’re Ready, Just Go!

Now, some people aren’t just afraid of dying—they’re especially afraid of dying young. In a society where schoolchildren are killing each other, this can be very real to young people—and their parents. But everyone, both young and old, needs to know that God wants His people to live long, full lives.

As a believer, His will is for you to live out the full number of your days and to be satisfied. Psalms 91:15-16 says, “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”

Go ahead and live until a good old age, and if you’re not satisfied, live a while longer. Then when you’re ready, just go. You don’t have to get sick to die. Go healed. Go whole. Go with a shout. Your earth suit won’t have life anymore because you are gone. You will be enjoying more life than you’ve ever experienced.

That’s what Abraham did. He didn’t go sick. The Bible says in Genesis 25:8, his “spirit was released, and he died at a good (ample, full) old age, an old man, satisfied and satiated, and was gathered to his people” (The Amplified Bible).

That’s one of the ways you need to think of your home going—as simply being released. When you leave this earth, you will be released from a totally natural body that you’ve had to crucify, mortify and make obey all the days you’ve been here. Abraham was released, and he died at a good old age, satisfied. He was totally full and gathered to his people. All of his family that had gone before him were there waiting for him. That’s how it will be with you. There will be quite a reception when you arrive—of loved ones and those you ministered to while in the earth.

Abraham’s son Isaac had a similar home going: “And Isaac’s spirit departed; he died and was gathered to his people, being an old man, satisfied and satiated with days; his sons Esau and Jacob buried him” (Genesis 35:29, The Amplified Bible). His body died, but his spirit just left. So what did Esau and Jacob bury? They buried his body—his earth suit.

God looks at the death of His people as a departure. It’s a leaving from one place and an arriving in His presence, which is far better.

The Apostle Paul said in II Timothy 4:6-7, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Paul saw his leaving this earth as a departure, not an end of life. He knew God and he knew the Spirit of God. He had no dread of going to heaven, for he knew it was a much better place.

The Bible says death is an enemy. It is right to resist it until we have finished our work and lived out the full number of our days. But we don’t have to live in fear of death because we’ve been redeemed!

No Sad Funerals

When you know the truth about death, you don’t have to have sad funerals either. I’ve told my daughter, Kellie, that if the Lord doesn’t return in my lifetime, and my body requires a funeral, I want her to sing the song, “Don’t Weep for Me When I’m Gone.”

I’ve told her that I want her to dance and have a good time because, I guarantee you, I’ll be in a far better place. The words to the song say, “Don’t weep for me when I’m gone ’cause I won’t have to leave here alone. Heaven is near and I can’t stay here. Goodbye, world, goodbye!”

It’s time to get free! Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us specifically that Jesus has delivered us from the fear of death: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

You don’t have to lie down at night and wonder if you will wake up in the morning, afraid that you might die. You don’t have to live that way. The power of death has been broken over you. You’ve already seen the greater part of your resurrection—the rebirth of your spirit man.

Have the attitude of the Apostle Paul as recorded in Philippians 1:19-21:

For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

I’m telling you, there was no greater day than the day you made Jesus the Lord of your life. That is the day you passed from death into life. Ephesians 2:5-6 says it is the day the same life that raised Jesus from the dead came into you and made you alive. It raised you up to sit with Jesus in heavenly places.

The bottom line is that you can’t die, even if you wanted to. You’ve done it. And you only die once!

So take hold of your freedom. Don’t let the devil steal another moment of peace and joy from you. Trust God with your life. Finish the work He’s called you to do in joy. Live out the length of your days in victory over the fear of death. You have everything to live for!