Friday, January 18, 2008

notes on salvation 2

For many Christians their understanding of the gospel is rooted solely in eschatology. Eschatology is defined by The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine as “the doctrine of the last things”, often identified as “resurrection, judgment, heaven and hell”. So in much of the modern day church, The Good News or The Kingdom of Heaven speak of eternal life and eternal life speaks of life in heaven after we die. However, Jesus defines eternal life as such:

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3

If this truly is the literal definition of the phrase eternal life, which is used to describe The Good News or The Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus and, as a result, the Apostles were preaching about, then it, along with Luke 4, paints a very different picture of salvation for us. Suddenly, when we read the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18 and Mark 10, we get a sense that Jesus is not condemning rich people to hell but simply pointing out that our possessions sometimes get in the way of us experiencing the eternal or fulltime presence of God because, rather than leaving our possessions and, quite literally, hanging out with God, our time is spent focussed on and looking after our stuff.

If we then take Jesus’ definition of eternal life and use it in reference to all of the places in the Old and New Testament that speak of The Good News or the Kingdom of God, we suddenly get a sense that God is not asking us to wait it out until this planet eventually spins out of control and he comes to take us up to heaven, but that God is building His Kingdom here on earth, that he is inviting us into communion with him here and now, that a time is coming and has now come where it no longer matters where and when we commune with Him and that we no longer need a priest to commune with God on our behalf. God is inviting us to become a part of His Kingdom here on earth and that, to be a part of His Kingdom, we must look after each other.

Comments on "notes on salvation 2"


Blogger Sean said ... (6:13 AM) : 

This is an interesting concept. I have heard/ read several teachings that make the same point. The most recent being . . .

I remember being indoctrinated with the idea of getting saved so that upon death, I could go to heaven as opposed to hell. This also tied right in with certain dispensations of the fulfillment of prophecies. Anyways, it definitely always made life look simply like something that we needed to endure before going to heaven. As opposed to the reality of the need to take part in transforming the world today.

It definitely produces a different approach to ministering to those around us.


Blogger Sean said ... (6:14 AM) : 

and the site that didn't fully come up is . . .


Blogger Phil said ... (6:59 PM) : 

amen and amen


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