Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
John 5.28-29 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; Those who did good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
In earlier days it was fashionable (among Church folk) to say “there is a Heaven to be won, and a Hell to be shunned.” I wonder if we have forgotten that very real, all important reality.
All sound theology, forces us to consider eschatology. That is, when we come to grips with who God is, and what He has revealed both about Himself and the sinfulness of man – once we have grappled with these sound theological foundations -we are then forced to inquire as to what difference it all makes. What is the plan? IS there a plan? Do we just live and die, and that’s it? Or is there life after death? And if there is, how is that life impacted by who we are and what we do in THIS life?
These are central questions to human existence. Questions some would rather simply avoid.
The problem with avoiding questions like the ones we’ve asked here, is that no matter what we do – life as we know it WILL come to an end. It is the unbroken testimony of humanity from its inception. Everyone dies. Everyone. Then what? Jesus is answering and drawing us into that very question in the text above. By virtue of which, He posits two, and only two possible alternatives.
Each one of us, sometime after the time of our passing from this world, will be resurrected. Life as we know it will come to an end. And what of this resurrection? Well, you and I will either be raised up for the purpose of entering into what the Bible terms a “resurrection of life”, or eternal life. Unending life with our God. Or, we will be raised up and enter into a “resurrection of judgment”. An eternal state of remaining unreconciled to God, and enduring the just penalty for our “evil” deeds while in this life. Our theology has forced us (as I said above) to deal with eschatology – end things.
Truth, especially truth about eternal things, will not allow us to remain complacent. We must face the full force of the inevitable.
So, how about you? Which resurrection will be yours? And why do you think so? If you are anticipating a resurrection unto life – why? And, do you really think you would want it? I mean, is your idea of Heaven, living eternally in the glorious presence of God? If not, Heaven is not for you. For Heaven is what He is – or rather, He is what makes Heaven, Heaven. The glory, the joy, the pleasure and wonder of Heaven, is that we are with Him. That we get to “see Him as He is” (1 John 3.2).
Might I say dear one, if that thought does not thrill you, you really need to think about why you would want to be there. If it is simply not to be in Hell – that is insufficient. “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to ALL who have loved his APPEARING.” (Emphasis mine)
Do you love the idea of His appearing? Is that your notion of the consummation of all things? Of the highest good and joy to be had? For it is only such who will receive that “crown.”
How then can a man be so ready, so excited over the thought of Christ returning to judge all mankind? I mean after all, aren’t you and I sinners too?
Indeed we are.
So where can such a joy come from when all sin is to be judged this way? By one means only, if we will be counted righteous, so that we will not be judged for all our sin. And how can that be? Oh beloved, that is the Gospel! Let us just hear it from the lips of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians:
“If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Php 3:4-11)
Here is the only way dear one – faith in Christ’s substitutionary, atoning death at Calvary. Seeing God pouring out His wrath on Jesus Christ, that all who put their faith in Him as taking the guilt of their sin, might be counted righteous with His righteousness.
This is the great exchange.
This is deliverance from Hell.
This, brings a resurrection unto life.
This, and this alone.