and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.John 5:29(NASB)
It was in the second year of His ministry that the Lord Jesus healed a man at the pool of Bethesda, which means House of Mercy. It was on a Sabbath day when this miracle took place, causing the chief priests and scribes to have an even greater hatred for the Lord Jesus.
When the Jews found out that it was the Lord Jesus Who had healed the man, they started to persecute Him, because He had healed a man on the Sabbath day. He broke THEIR Sabbath day rules, while fulfilling the will of His Father.
An amazingly blunt dialogue started between them, where Christ's declaration of equality with the Father, incensed these legalists even further. Jesus justifiably laid claims to being God - asserting that He has the authority and power to forgive sins, raise the dead, and give life to whomsoever He wills.
Jesus let them know that the Father had committed the judgement of humanity into His hands. Indeed, God has appointed a day in which to judge the inhabitants of earth, in righteousness... and humanity will be judged by the Man Whom God appointed - i.e. Jesus Christ the Righteous. And the undeniable proof that He is the appointed One, would be His resurrection from the dead.
God has set a day when the only perfect Man to live a sinless life, will pass judgement on the entire race of humanity. But first He had to come to earth as a Man, to become our kinsman-Redeemer, by being born into the human race, living a perfect human life, and dying a sacrificial, human death.
Jesus told them very emphatically, that an hour was coming, when the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear would live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also, to have life in Himself. God the Father gave the Son of Man authority to execute judgment, because He was God the Son, Who was born into the human race to became man's kinsman Redeemer - the sacrifice for man's sin.
"Do not marvel at this," He informed them, "the time is coming, when all who are in their tombs will hear My voice, and will be resurrected." And then Christ uttered this sober yet glorious truth - "those who have done good deeds will be part of a resurrection of life, while those who have committed evil deeds will come forth to a resurrection of judgment and damnation."
There is going to be a future, physical resurrection of every man and woman who ever lived. Those who did the good deeds (i.e. believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour) to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds (i.e. did NOT believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation) to a resurrection of judgment. Faith comes by hearing and those who HEAR the truth of the gospel of God, believe in their heart and trust in Christ, will rise into newness of His resurrected life. However, those who reject His offer of salvation will be resurrected to face an eternity of condemnation.
This verse is sometimes taken out of context to teach that doing good deeds will get a person into heaven, while those that commit evil deeds will be condemned to hell. This is a misinterpretation of this verse. No one is justified by doing good works. The good work to which Jesus is referring, is to believe in Him. The good work that is being referred to in this verse is believing - "THIS is the work of God that you believe on Him Whom He has sent."
An unsaved man CANNOT perform any works that are good in the sight of God, other than to BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only those that have been saved, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ can carry out good deeds, for only justified men are given the nature of Christ... "for the good work of God is to know HIM and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent."
Similarly, those who have done evil deeds is referring to those that have never put their faith in God, by trusting Christ for salvation. The unsaved man does not have the Spirit of Christ and every deed, whether good or ill, is performed in the flesh and is regarded by God as filthy rags. We read a few chapters earlier - "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
Those who believe in Jesus, are saved. They are justified and will be raised into the resurrection of life, but those who do not believe are unsaved.. and they are already condemned to the resurrection of damnation (the second death) - because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Holy Spirit convicted me of sin, righteousness, and judgement, and that by faith in Christ I have been saved by grace, justified in Your eyes, declared righteous because of Christ, and am assured of taking part in the first resurrection - the resurrection to eternal life. There are many who have rejected Your Word and turned away from the truth, causing them to remain under Your condemnation. I pray that while there is still time, many would hear the gospel of grace and put their trust in Jesus, and join us who have believed, in the first resurrection to life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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