A few thoughts on God, Jesus, salvation, judgment, heaven, hell, who’s in, who’s out, and the end of the world as we know it
Or theology seems to be all about going to heaven. Isn’t the Gospel about today? Or is it just fire insurance? Our theology seems to be just for some other time.
Going to heaven… Is that the best God can do? I need help today.
“Said the prayer” but don’t follow Jesus? Never “said the prayer” but live a lot like a Jesus follower. Is the kind of person youre becoming irrelevant?
If it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, then what did Jesus teach?
Which Jesus? The 1-800-big hair Jesus?
“Stumbling Toward Faith”. Renee Olsten(?) starts this book with an account of her father raping her while reciting the Lord’s Prayer and molesting her while singing Christian hymns. Some Jesus’ should be rejected.
What Jesus have people been exposed to?
Of all the billions of people in the world?
A select few who happen to believe/confess/do a few things that even they can’t agree on?
What if the missionary gets a flat tire?
Age of accountability? If a baby dies it’ll go to heaven because of what King David said. But what if a 13 year old “atheist” dies in a car accident. When its your own flesh and blood, the rules seem to change, don’t they?
So there’s no hope. No hope? How is any of this grace?
How is a person saved? If you ONLY had the Bible how would you answer this question?
Luke 7; speech about authority
Luke 18:9; have mercy on me a sinner
Luke 23:42; remember me when you get to your Kingdom
Is it something you say?
John 3; no one can see it without being born again
Luke 20:27; those who are considered worthy…
Is it something you have to be?
Matthew 6:14; if you forgive others, God will forgive you
Matthew 7:21; only those who do the will of God will be in heaven, not those who say “Lord, Lord”
Matthew 10:22; stand firm and everyone will hate…then you will be saved
Luke 7:36; she hasn’t said a word yet by v 38. Its her posture, her attitude, her heart. her love (v47)
Luke 15:18; I have sinned against heaven and you. I am no longer worthy to be your son
John 11:25; whoever lives by believing in me will never die
Acts 2:38; repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins
Is it something you say? Be? Do?
Luke 19; Zacchaeus’ speech is that he will give half of his possessions to the poor. Jesus doesn’t say that he doesn’t care about justice, he only cares about personal salvation.
Matthew 9; the paralyzed man was saved because of his friends faith
Mark 2; his friends unroofed the roof. Jesus forgave the paralyzed man again because of his friends faith.
1 Corinthians 7:15;
Is it something someone else does?
Acts 9; Saul is persecuting the Christians. Jesus, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul, “Who are you?” THAT’S the conversion!
Romans 10:14; Paul links salvation…someone hears, because someone said, because someone sent….
Is it something that someone says to you? Something somebody tells you to say/do/trust/believe?
Sometimes its not anything you say or do…God spoke and you were saved.
Is it about believing?
Luke 4:33, 41; the only ones who are CLEAR about who Jesus is are the demons.
James 2:19; even the demons believe…and they shutter.
If you were asked “How does a person get saved, converted, in, redeemed, etc.? and you only had the Bible to answer the question…you would have lots of answers.
Salvation is holistic in nature. Jesus wants to save all of us. Jesus wants to save us from sin, hatred, revenge, debt, our past, hatred, racism, poverty, anything that hinders the full shalom that God created for the entire world.
1) Destination Theology – out or in, somewhere out there or already arrived. You’re saved now help save others.
2) Journey Theology – there are people who are believers and extremely selfish, Jesus wants to save us from selfishness. Jesus wants to save us from abuse, from indifference. There are moments of arrival all along the way
If our salvation can tracked on an arrow what would those moments on the journey be? For me in 8th grade I became aware of my mortality. Jesus saved me of my eternal arrogance. In college I became aware of the church’s problems which made me aware of my desire to grow. Jesus saved me from apathy.
Matthew 12:32; a Jew doesn’t talk about forever. Jews talk about this age and the age to come.
Matthew 13:39; Jesus talks about the end of the age
Matthew 13:49; end of the age
Matthew 24:3; end of the age
There is this age and the age to come.
Olam haba – life in the age to come, translated to eternal life in english
Luke 18:30; life in this age and in the life to come, olam haba
Matthew 19:16; “what do I do to have olam haba?”
Olam haba also means harmony with God.
Eternal life is a quality of life. A life filled with holistic shalom with our Maker.
Matthew 19:28; at the renewal of all things…(Matthew)
Acts 3:21; …God to restore everything… (Peter)
Colossians 1:19; All things are held together in Jesus…reconcile to Himself all things by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Paul)
Yes, the cross is about personal salvation, but its not the WHOLE picture. When you shrink salvation down to personal individual salvation, you are not preaching the whole Gospel.
In – Out
Jesus says, be careful some of those you assume are in are not, and some you assume are out are actually in. Be very careful when you start making judgments about others state of their soul.
Newsweek August 14, 2006. Billy Graham, “I believe the love f God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world…
We invite people to trust Jesus wherever they go on their journey. We are not called to destroy other religions. We are only to show Jesus to people.
Richard Rohr: “My simple definition of salvation would be when one begins to live in conscious union with God. This, of course, grows and develops and Jesus makes it plain that this has to begin in our bodies, in our human lives, in our experience in this world, now, and for that Jesus is surely necessary for salvation….its not a formula or a mere affirmation but a change of identity.”
The Bible begins in chapter 1 NOT chapter 3.
Genesis 1; God blesses them. Shalom is the blessing and goodness God created for all things. Adam and Eve are in right and harmonious union with God. 2:5, there was no shame. There was shalom with God, shalom with each other, humanity, shalom with the earth. Subdue the earth, lovingly care for it.
There are a few verses on people and the rest on the rest of Creation. A 4th dimension could be shalom with the self.
3:7; their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. v 9, where are you? Does God not know? “God in Search of Man” Abraham Joshua Heschel
The story begins in chapters 1 and 2. not 3. Chapter 1 and 2 is Shalom. Chapter 3 is sin. Sin is anywhere shalom has been disturbed.
God wants to reside among his people.
To be a Christian is to believe that life is going somewhere. Its not to think how can I escape this world now, its how can I live with God now! God is looking for partners.
Whats scary is when people talk about hell some day and refuse to care about the hell that is going on today. Sudan. AIDS. Loneliness. Depression. Hell on earth is real.
1 Thessalonians 4;13 the Rapture passage. :-D
historians record that in earthquakes Thesolonici was destroyed. People had to move outside the city. Cesar sent money to rebuild their city. He wanted to come and see it. The city went out to welcome Cesar when they heard the blowing of the horns to welcome the King. They welcomed him and then went back to the city to show him how they rebuilt it after he gave them the resources. Paul uses the same language. Paul is saying that God will return and we will show him what weve done with the resources hes given us.