Evan: It’s great that Jesus rose from the dead. I can know with confidence that when I die I can go to be with Christ. I have my free ticket that will get me straight in through the pearly gates.
Calvin: Yeah the death of Christ does give us confidence for the future, but do you think it effects our present life today?
Evan: Well! Yeah. We have got to get this message outt ot others, we have to tell people that there is more to life than this, that a future awaits us in heaven.
Calvin: A future in heaven…. The problem is with this line of thinking is that it can get us fixed on the future hope, and life becomes a waiting process for the glorious day. We can just sit back, relax, tell others about Jesus.
Evan: Why is this a problem?
Calvin: Lets look at 1 Corinthians Ch 15. In this passage Paul tells us all about the resurrection, how death has lost its sting. At the end of this chapter Paul throws this verse intot he mix.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)
The resurrection leads Paul to saying that this present life matters, that what we do in this life is not in vain. As Tom Wright says ‘What you do in the present- by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for ther needy, loving your neighbour as yourself- all these things will last into God’s future’ (surprised by hope 205)
Evan: Errr! Sounds weird. Surely this distrctas us from the main task of getting people saved, getting their souls to heaven.
Calvin: It probably does sound weird but that doesn’t necessaiuly make it untrue. If we allow the idea of the ‘kingdom of God’ shape our theology then we will have a theology which is life affiriming and holistic. A Christian life which has as its aim to bring Christ’s lordship into every sphere of existence. If on the other hand we place individual salavtion as the centre piece then we will have a theology which neglects an emphais on the whole of the cosmos. The resurrection of Jesus shows that God is interested in the physical (it wasn’t just Jesus spirit which was raised), the resurrection of Jesus is about the eschaton (the future) being brought into the present. As a community of the resurrection we want to see heaven and God’s future world being brought into the present. We pray it don’t we when we say ‘Your kingdom come ,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’. Yet we also need to live it.
Evan: So if I am hearing you correctly then my job as a ‘Businessman’ is not simply a part of my secular life, but is a place where I should be doing business in a way which reflects the kingdom of God, reflects kingdom values. It shoudl be something which, if God will it, would fit in nicely with the restored heaven and earth…
Calvin: I think you are getting it. The resurrection of Jesus has to do with Gods future breaking into the present, whether you are a ‘Baker, Butcher or Candlestick maker’. We are not to be ‘other wordly’ as Christiasn in the sense of being focussed on heaven, instead we shoudl be seeking to see God’s future and kingdom coming into the present. Lets talk more later……….