There’s a widespread belief that when we die, all will be fine – that we’ll be made perfect. That somehow “just passing through death” will transform us into really cool people, notes Dallas Willard. These Christian beliefs are widespread, and, in many cases, i would argue, render many to sit around waiting to die.
Rather than embracing God today (and his Kingdom project ushered in by His messiah, Jesus) and allowing him to radically change our lives (and the lives of others and the world), many seek what John Ortberg calls, “the minimal entrance requirements” to get into heaven. Few will admit this, of course. Instead, they think they’ve met the requirements. They’ve attended church, read the bible, believed in Jesus as savior. They think they’re among the chosen. The elect. And thus, off they go to heaven – they’ve done they’re duty here on earth.
The trouble with this view is that it’s not a biblical view (see Tom Wright, Scot McKnight…others) for details. In short, heaven is not some far of place in the clouds, where, when we pass, hop on an elevator to then sit in the clouds playing harps. Heaven is close. Heaven and earth were meant to be one. Thy kingdom come “on earth” as it is in heaven. That is, pray for the restoration of heaven and earth – together again – as it was in the beginning.
Jesus came to rock our world – to usher in new creation. Following his agenda guts us (gives us new hearts) and rebuilds us and restores us – and there is so much work to do for the Kingdom. There’s no waiting. There are no age restrictions. We can start right where we are. The Kingdom is an immediate invitation into the empire of God, now. Yes, he’ll come again, but in the meantime there’s Kingdom work to be done for the Lord. He’s building it – we get to participate with our particular gifts, talents, and passions.
Willard goes on to discuss, in light of those waiting, how there’s no guarantee that we’ll be made perfect upon passing. What we know is we are asked to change, to grow, to participate, to enjoy, to discover, to be empowered right now.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson