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The Dead-raising Authority of Jesus

John 5:28-30
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (NIV)

What will happen after we die? That great question is found in every society, and many different answers are suggested. Physically, the body decomposes; but what about the person who used to live in that body? In today's passage, Jesus says that every dead person will hear His command to meet Him, and nobody will refuse to attend. The interview will reveal every living moment, and Jesus will judge what was right and what was wrong. His verdict will be divinely just, determining the eternal destiny of everyone in a way that is pleasing to Father God.

This excerpt of Christ's teaching does not imply salvation by works, for 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). We know that salvation is by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). But it is a stark reminder of the need to get right with God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience." This teaching of Jesus became a spur to the Apostles and the Early Church to live in a way that pleases God and be active in spoken evangelism - explaining how to be saved (www.crosscheck.org.uk).

The appointment is inevitable for all of us. Jesus Christ will judge everyone. Those who have rejected Him will be greatly shocked to find themselves raised from death to face His scrutiny. Those who assume they are good enough will find that everything is revealed. And so it is vitally important to be clear about salvation before that Day. We must understand our own need to be saved, trusting in His sacrifice for us, and then be eager to live in the new life He gives - showing the evidence of His new life in us and explaining the way of salvation to all who will listen.

Prayer 
Ever-living God. Thank You for Jesus, Your Son and my Saviour; who will call everyone to account on the Last Day. I am sorry for assuming that this world is all I have to consider, ignoring the reality of Christ's judgement. Please help me to live in the light of my appointment with Christ, to witness to the new life He has given me, and to explain the way of salvation to all who will listen. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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