Archive for July 19th, 2011

This is only one small excerpt from the book I am thoroughly enjoying–deep though it may be with commentary on the work of dead theologians. It’s worth the trouble if you have the time for a slow read. I love the following quote:

Most especially is this overarching by heaven heard to be the case with respect to the lack of parity in the Gospel message between heaven and hell. While scriptural references to heaven and earth tell of a creation in which earth is under heaven, even more so they tell of a redemption in which hell is rendered powerless before the keys of the coming basileia of heaven (Mt. 16.18-19). Contrary to any idea that heaven and hell are equally optional alternative states of affairs that can be actualized somehow by our decisions, it is precisely when beclouded by the direst forebodings and fear of the powers of heaven being shaken that hearers of the Gospel are told, in the words of Jesus, to lift up their heads because ‘redemption is drawing near’ (Lk. 21.28). (The Difference Heaven Makes 36)

With so much conversation in the blog world about hell, maybe inserting a little conversation around the idea of heaven would be beneficial. Although, to be sure, merely talking about heaven won’t make much difference. Bringing the reality of heaven to broken people, wherever they are, will. Heaven makes a difference when heaven is brought to bear on this world–and I believe that Christians have a vital role to play here in this regard.

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I have been on this crazy bender lately–listening to 3 or 4 sermons a day for the last several days. Last night I was listening to an older sermon Tim Keller preached concerning the Church, the culture, and how Christians fit into these worlds and so on and so forth. You can find the sermon here. (It’s not so much a sermon as it is a lecture, but it is worth the effort and time, and it is a little older, but it is still quite relevant with, perhaps, a few tweaks.)

As Keller spoke, he mentioned, near the end, a definition of salvation and what the ultimate purpose of salvation is. I wrote it down because it was so powerful and compelling:

“The ultimate purpose of salvation is a new heavens and a new earth. This world is not a theater, temporary theater, for the salvation of individual souls who get converted and then leave. Our individual salvation is a means to an end. The world is not the means and our salvation the end. Our salvation is the means and a brand new material world is an end where music is perfect, where farming is perfect, where there is no disease, where there is no death.”

This is just wonderful.

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