One point not answered by lee100 is the other side of the coin. There is certainly nothing that says God does not work acceptable repentance after death, that He does not change both the wicked and the just beyond this life. I would want such a serious thing clearly stated in the word to believe it. I notice there has been no Scripture quoted to back up that assumption of evil from the traditions of men.
Most of what I wrote here was posted elsewhere in tentmaker forums. Some of it is new. I tried to be somewhat complete, but who knows? Perhaps later I'll add something about the 2nd death. Death in all its forms will be abolished! That is the clear word of God. I could quote the early creeds and explain the importance the early church attached to Jesus going to hell while dead and preaching good news to the rest of the dead. It definitely is in Scripture which the following should make clear. I had titled it:
"Death Does Not Determine Destiny"
Jesus is not a two-faced schizophrenic, one way with some people and another with the rest. Some have tried to make Him that way by falsely teaching God has multiple thrones. Paul says it doesn't even matter if they are of the original apostles, God is no respecter or persons. (cp. Ga 2:6) "For for this Christ died and lives, that He should be Lord of the dead as well as of the living." (Rm 14:9, CLT) A little later (vs.11) it says, "...For to Me shall bow every knee, And every tongue shall be acclaiming God!" Obviously, if that doesn't happen during our short sojourn in this veil of corruptible flesh it must happen beyond. "Every tongue will confess Jesus Christ as Lord! (cp., Php 2:10-11) I believe Scripture when it says, "...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (1 Co 12:3, AV) God's word is also quite clear that: "...if ever you should be avowing with your mouth the declaration that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in your heart that God rouses Him from among the dead, you shall be saved." (Rm 10:9, CLT) Surely those raised from the dead and standing before a resurrected immortal and glorified Jesus will believe He is raised from the dead! This is tracing what the Scripture speaks concerning certain matters beyond the life in this body of humiliation. The Holy Scripture never says that death determines destiny, rather it is determined by God Who cannot die. It does not anywhere have anything written saying God loves you until you die. Nothing says our death stops God's works. If it did it could not be true that, "...the day of death [is better] than the day of one's birth. (Ec 7:1)
Something Jesus did say was, "who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." (John 11:25-26) He could've used an adjective to indicate He was referring merely to "spiritual" life and death; but, He didn't! Don't add words to explain away what He said. Meditate on it. In that place He also indicated victory over death by going on to say, "And, everyone living and believing into Me, should by no means be dying into the eon. Are you believing this?"
After Jesus died on the cross Peter says He preached to the spirits in prison that had been disobedient in the days of Noah. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient (no longer disobedient means their prison was working), when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Pet 3:18-20, AV) It is definitely taught by God's own word that: "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Pet 4:6, AV)
In the book of Jonah in the Bible it says after Jonah died and went to hell he prayed and God saved him. Men made up the idea that God loves you until you die. The gospel is "Christ died for our sins" and the Bible did not add "so we could have a chance to accept Him." That others would benefit from faith in the gospel we do what we can to get them to believe. (cf., 2 Cor 5:18-20 AV) "Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice...I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple." (Jonah 2:1-2, 6-7, AV)
The verse fragment, "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." (Heb 9:27, AV) is what people use to supposedly back up the idea that once you die it's too late to come to faith. Whatever it means, it certainly does not in any way say such a thing and it doesn't seem possible to make it even infer it. This passage is in the midst of the following larger quote giving it a context: "...yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons, for the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest. And, in as much as it is reserved to the men to be dying once, yet after (altternatively, "with") this a judging, thus Christ also, being offered once for the bearing of the sins of many, will be seen a second time, by those awaiting Him, apart from sin, for salvation, through faith." (Heb 9:26B-28, CLV) In the context, which I quoted, Christ is presented as our judgment for sin. An interesting cross reference here is, "For he that is dead is freed from sin." (Rom 6:7, AV) The word "freed" isn't in the original. It has "justified," which means to be declared right as a result of a judicial investigation. The judgment for sin according to the Bible is death. This corresponds with rendering Heb 9:27, "With this the judgment..." which may be even more supported by pointing out the Greek word meta in this phrase is translated "with" 346 times compared to "after" only 95 times by the Authorized Version.
Some say I believe in a second chance. I tell them I don't believe in a first chance. God isn't doing this by chance. It's not just a clever rebuttal. "...according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." (Eph 1:10, AV) "God is working together the all..." is the beginning of Rom 8:28. Wouldn't someone even by chance, that is, by accident choose the right way if it was up to us? Scripture says, "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Rom 3:12, AV) This is because all are under "the law of sin unto death" from which only Christ makes us free. Do you realize the promise to not be hurt of the second death is to the Overcomer? (cf., Rev 2:11) I think there is suffering beyond this life. A lot of "Christians" are going to be very surprised. There is no two ways about it: some through the fire, some escaping it; no! "Everyone will be salted with fire..." (Mk 9:49) is Jesus' word. Our God is a consuming fire. Fire is not an attribute of His wrath, but an aspect of His nature. He leads as a pillar of fire. He speaks out of the fire. Our Father is fire. He is forming this Royal Priesthood. We are flames of living fire. God says, "And the fire, it will be testing each one's work -- what kind it is." (1 Co 3:13, CLV) He also says, "Neither shall there be any more pain." (Rev 21:4, AV) To know that God is like this should flood our hearts with joy! But men's traditions have set aside this and many other things written. I believe in every word, even every letter of Scripture, including each of the various things that translators have pasted the word hell over. I have searched various nooks and crannies of the word, going over some of it with the proverbial fine tooth comb, and compared it to what men have said. Which would you have me choose to believe?
It seems that even when all are resurrected, those who didn't have part in the first resurrection will yet be, at least for a while, somehow subject to some kind of inhibition, if not pain, as they are brought on into relationship with God and the holy ones. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan 12:2) Here "contempt" (KJV) is from a root meaning repulse,something that may need to be yet done to control and train these. "Shame" (fem.) here (which can mean pudenda) relates in the original to a condition due to a lack of grace. This lack is applied in such examples as being of an enemy army, being barren, uncircumsied, or a widow; betroth, as if a surrender, etc. "...to reproach for eonian repulsion" is how the Concordant Literal renders the phrase. Not being overcomers, not in sufficient likeness or similitude of God they are not quite free. They are still subject. This is understandable considering the massive powers of immortal beings in the image of God.
Salvation is from the law of both sin and death by the higher law of life in Christ producing both righteousness and victory over death. "...for the spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus frees you from the law of sin and death. " (Rom 8:2, CLV) Salvation is partaking of the Divine nature, being conformed to the image and likeness of God, spirit, soul and body, not merely a better location in death, however true that may be too. Nothing in the Bible says God's saving work is limited to this life, or that it ceases when somebody dies. All it takes to prove this wrong is to quote a verse that says something like that. Much more those who know God expect to continue being developed in His image, whether through life, death, even resurrection and ascension. The purpose of God will not be thwarted. It is to make man in His image and likeness and that they would have universal dominion. It is a corporate image, male and female, and a corporate dominion. This is the destiny of every man. Death will not stop it. All hurtle toward God's, "Universal convocation." (Hb 12:23) God's gifts and servants are to cause us to attain to, "...the realization of the son of God, into The Perfect Man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Ep 4:13) This is our destiny, we who have first believed in Christ, who are of, "The ecclesia of the firstborn, registered in the heavens." (Hb 12:23) And, "...if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy..." (Rm 11:16)
We ought to meditate on what is written that is clear and easy to understand: "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 4:6 AV)
your brother, James Rohde