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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 5 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Shall come forth. Shall come out of their graves. This was the language which he used when he raised up Lazarus, Joh 11:43,4.

They that have done good. That is, they who are righteous, or they who have by their good works shown that they were the friends of Christ. See Mt 25:34-36.

Resurrection of life. Religion is often called life, and everlasting life. See Barnes "Joh 5:24".

In the resurrection the righteous will be raised up to the full enjoyment and perpetual security of that life. It is also called the resurrection of life, because there shall be no more death, Re 21:4. The enjoyment of God himself and of his works; of the society of the angels and of the redeemed; freedom from sickness, and sin, and dying, will constitute the life of the just in the resurrection. The resurrection is also called the resurrection of the just (Lu 14:14), and the first resurrection, Re 20:5,6.

The resurrection of damnation. The word damnation means the sentence passed on one by a judge—judgment or condemnation. The word, as we use it, applies only to the judgment pronounced by God on the wicked; but this is not its meaning always in the Bible. Here it has, however, that meaning. Those who have done evil will be raised up to be condemned or damned. This will be the object in raising them up—this the sole design. It is elsewhere said that they shall then be condemned to everlasting punishment (Mt 25:46), and that they shall be punished with everlasting destruction (2 Th 1:8,9); and it is said of the unjust that they are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished, 2 Pe 2:9. That this refers to the future judgment—to the resurrection then, and not to anything that takes place in this life— is clear from the following considerations:

1st. Jesus had just spoken of what would be done in this life—of the power of the gospel, Joh 5:25. He adds here that something still more wonderful—something beyond this—would take place. All that are in the graves shall hear his voice.

2nd. He speaks of those who are in their graves, evidently referring to the dead. Sinners are sometimes said to be dead in sin. This is applied in the Scriptures only to those who are deceased.

3rd. The language used here of the righteous cannot be applied to anything in this life. When God converts men, it is not because they have been good.

4th. Nor is the language employed of the evil applicable to anything here. In what condition among men can it be said, with any appearance of sense, that they are brought forth from their graves to the resurrection of damnation? The doctrine of those Universalists who hold that all men will be saved immediately at death, therefore, cannot be true. This passage proves that at the day of judgment the wicked will be condemned. Let it be added that if then condemned they will be lost for ever. Thus (Mt 25:46) it is said to be everlasting punishment; 2 Th 1:8,9, it is called everlasting destruction. There is no account of redemption in hell—no Saviour, no Holy Spirit, no offer of mercy there.

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