This year has seen a major rethink in terms of the way I view my faith, the way I see Jesus, and, as a result, what I see the whole gospel as being all about. More and more I see that the Christianity I have been brought up with is, in many ways, a fairly long way from what I read in the Gospels. The more I read people like N.T. Wright and Rowland Croucher, among others, and the more I study the Scriptures and ask God to show me what he is on about, the more I see that what I was taught growing up is not what it’s really all about.
I don’t think Jesus had a whole lot to say about what happens after we die. I think what he is referring to mostly is what the kingdom of God is like. Jesus never defined the kingdom of God but he always said what it was like. It’s about Kingdom come – on earth as it is in heaven. As Tom Wright says, heaven is not our final destination. And as Rikk Watts says, heaven is coming here. The new heaven and the new earth is a coming together of heaven and earth where we will have physical, resurrected bodies. God is putting the world to rights. And that is our mission as believers. We are participants in the putting of the world to rights. That’s why we are to fight for justice, to care for the environment, and to protect the orphan and the widow. Salvation is the restoration of the image of God, indeed the restoration of creation. It is both personal and social, not one, not the other. And not where one is an optional add-on to the other. Jesus never separated the personal and the social. That is a western concept and a result of the Enlightenment.
I’m excited by the rethink that is going on in my head. May it makes its way further into my heart as I see to grow closer to God and ask for nothing more than his will to be done in my life.