Most of us should now realize that the human spirit inhabits the human being at conception and departs the physical body at the point of death. We probably would all agree that for all humans the length between the points of conception and physical death is determined by our Father.
With regard to the departure of spirits from the physical body, my personal belief is that regenerated/vivified spirits continue on in their journey after death until they reach the New Jerusalem state, the place where the spirits of men are perfect and nothing is lacking (Hebrews 12:23). Unregenerate spirits, on the other hand, go on to dwell in the spirit realm in various conditions, and they do not ascend toward New Jerusalem until they too are vivified by faith in Jesus Christ.
With regard to the Spirit-quickened spirits, their journey from their departure from the physical body to their arrival at New Jerusalem can be a long one or a short one, this in many ways dependent upon how much of salvation (Christ’s life) has been worked out during one’s physical lifetime. This is saying that the idea of being made spiritually perfect at death is a false one, beloved. Yeah, that is a fabrication of the religious and carnally minded. Physical death releases a spirit from the encumbrances of the physical corruptible body, that’s all. From there it either continues on in its return to the Father (Ecclesiastes 12:7), or it dwells in a particular realm of spirit indefinitely in need of an awakening.
Regenerate or not, it seems that at physical death the spirit of a man is drawn to the realm of spirit that FITS HIM. With this in mind, you should be able to see the importance of our “working out our salvation,” for that does have quite a profound effect on our placement “over there.”
Also, beloved (and I hope you find this encouraging), I do think that it is possible for one to attain to the first resurrection in this lifetime, and thereby be welcomed immediately into New Jerusalem upon physical death. It seems that Paul expressed this idea too. Attaining to such a thing in this lifetime is probably very, very rare, though I do suspect that there are saints from every generation who have done it.
Anyway, I know that even this letter may seem a bit “out there” for some of you. Even so, may it stir you to REACH OUT IN FAITH for even that which seems unattainable to most people – even the NEW JERUSALEM – NOW! Yeah, we don’t have to die physically to get there, beloved, we do though have to die to self. There’s the rub, and the reason that we have to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings being conformed to His death. There can be no resurrection and ascension to the Father without faith in Christ … and very real self-death.