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 5:27-29 ESV)
John and the apostles teach about salvation by grace alone. John describes it as being “born again”, that no one can come to the Father unless the Father draws him. And yet, verses like this that speak about judgment and works are also in evidence. Is this a contradiction to the doctrine of sola gratia? Not at all. But it is true that works are the evidence of someone who has been truly saved. Jesus explains elsewhere, “a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit.” You do according to what you are. Even John the Baptist taught this when he said, “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”
This isn’t meant to provoke us into trying harder to be a Christian. But if there is no fruit, or little fruit, in evidence, it is a call to repent and consider the call of the gospel. If it doesn’t turn your life upside down, then you haven’t really heard it. That’s what it does.
Lord, would you open the eyes of my heart that I might begin to see into the depths of your amazing grace!