“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25-29)
What is the most amazing feat you have ever witnessed? Was it an athlete in a sporting event? Was it a first responder saving a life?
When Jesus walked the earth, people were constantly amazed by his deeds. In John 5, for example, Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
As the buzz grew about this feat, Jesus informed the crowds that something even more amazing was coming. Better than healing one person for a lifetime, Jesus would raise all people for all time. In this way, the miracles or signs that Jesus did were like road signs along the highway in our day pointing to a final destination called the Kingdom of God.
Well-meaning people often say that the deceased, “went to a better place”. The sentiment is often well intended, but ill constructed. Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone else in the Bible. And, in the text above, he speaks of heaven as the “resurrection of life”, and hell as the “resurrection of judgment”.
Furthermore, in the eternal state there will be varying degrees of blessing in heaven and varying degrees of punishment in hell. Why? Because God is fully just. Jesus’ explains it this way in Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
If you are a believer, this should be a great encouragement. When life is hard and you continue in fidelity to the Lord, you are storing up your treasures in heaven as Jesus promised. In this way, faithfulness in this life is like making deposits in an account that will not bear dividends until eternity but also pay dividends for eternity
What is the most difficult season you have endured? How might God use that for your eternal rewards?