Come, Lord Jesus

The proper outlook on eternity as it relates to daily living is a critical issue. Unfortunately, Christians have a tendency to err  in one of two ways. 

We have on one hand those who give little thought to the reality of eternity with Jesus. These are found most often (though not exclusively) in more liberal camps of Christianity that focus on "the social gospel" rather than on spiritual reconciliation with God. On the upside, they labor faithfully to do good, feeding the hungry and healing the sick. On the downside, they offer very little in terms of a life-changing, transformative message of salvation. This camp makes attempts at reversing the effects of sin without addressing sin itself. 

We have on the other hand what I call "the Ned Flanders Contingent". Akin to the stereotypical Christian portrayed in The Simpsons, this camp is painfully aware of the deteriorating state of the world and it's members are so intent on being raptured out that they have little interest in doing any restorative work in it. They tend to value the gospel message but are not attentive to the wider scope of its effects. 

Both camps neglect a proper view of the Kingdom of God and the role of the Gospel. 

The gospel is necessary because of the sin of humanity.

In order to understand the scope of the gospel, you must first understand the scope of sin and it's effects. According to Romans 5:12-21, when humanity's relationship with God was severed by sin (spiritual death), every other kind of death came with it.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.--Romans 5:12-14

My theological hero, Dr. John Douglas Morrison uses the illustration of a rock dropped in a pond. Adam's sin caused a ripple effect in the universe. Sin and death spread like waves across the millennia. Disease, divorce, rape, murder, abuse, and earthquakes can all trace their lineage back to Adam's sin, though we all play a part in the perpetuation of death by our own sin as well (Romans 3:23).  

The death and resurrection of Jesus is reversing the effects of sin. 

However, consider the rest of the passage:

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.  For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. --Romans 5:15-17

There is a contrast between sin inherited from Adam and life made available by grace in Jesus Christ.  While sin and death once reigned over this earth, so grace and righteousness leading to eternal life will reign through Jesus.  

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.  For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. --Romans 5:18-21

Jesus' death and resurrection does more than we think.  He didn't just pay our sin debt, He beat death.  The death that reigned from Adam 's sin was conquered by Jesus.  He is reversing every death.  His atonement reverses spiritual death by bringing us back into relationship with God (Romans 5:11).  His resurrection reverses physical death by making our physical healing and resurrection possible (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Corinthians 15).  Further, as King Jesus is in the process of making all things new (Revelation 21:5).  

As King, Jesus is making all things new. 

This is why it is so important that we have an accurate view of the Kingdom of God.  If I have an accurate picture heaven where Jesus is fully honored as King, I will live in obedience to His Kingship here.  There is no such thing as being so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.  An accurate picture of heaven means being of the most earthly good.  

As King, Jesus is making all things new (Revelation 21:5), when his Kingdom comes fully, all things will be new.  My job is to obey Him, to be an agent of His Kingdom now.  If Jesus is making all things new, then I should be about his business.  

Restoration occurs in the order that brokenness occurred. 

The evil and suffering of this world began with spiritual death.  Man's sin separated him from God, and every other form of death came after.  In the same way, restoration occurs as humanity is brought back into right relationship with God through Jesus' atoning work (Romans 6:23).  As we trust Jesus (Romans 10:9), we walk in obedience to Him (John 14:15), which means we serve others (Philippians 2), forgive debts (Matthew 6:14), feed the hungry, visit prisoners, and house the homeless (Matthew 25:31ff).  Not only that, we operate in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Miracles happen (John 14:12).  The dead are raised.  The sick are healed.  Marriages are restored.  Addicts are freed.  Jesus is honored as King.  Ultimately, every person who is in Christ experiences eternal life in heaven (Romans 6:23).  That is good news.  

Don't hide in the root cellar till Jesus returns, and don't walk around pretending that meeting physical needs is all that matters.  Spread the gospel, knowing that Jesus is making all things new. 

Jesus is coming back.

With all this in mind, the world is a pretty dark place.  Jesus is going to have to return to put things right again.  The evil and suffering we see serves as a reminder that we need Him desperately.  This is why we pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! -Revelation 22:20