“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28,29 NKJV).
RESURRECTION! The very word stirs the soul — it is the very essence of the gospel. It was Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). So Paul wrote these unforgettable lines, speaking for all who have obeyed the gospel and live in hope: “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
But resurrection is a double-edged sword. Go back and read our text in John 5:28,29. There, Jesus said that “the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” For some, the resurrection will be one of “life,” but to others it will be one of “condemnation.” Human beings have eternal souls — souls that will spend eternity, if not with God, then away from Him.
In Revelation 21:8, the eternal destiny of those who have refused God’s salvation is called “the second death.” Jesus said that to suffer that death is far worse than to die physically: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4,5). And when He taught on hell, He used graphic language. At the judgment, the ungodly will hear the words, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). These, Jesus said, “will go away into eternal punishment” (v.46).
Our human freedom entails accountability to our Creator. And if, in the end, we have rejected Him, it will be useless to deny the choices we made. While there is time, let’s make the right choice.
“Hell is paved with great granite blocks hewn from the hearts of those who said, ‘I can do no other’ ” (Heywood Broun).