And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
The good news of the gospel is not just that I get to go to heaven when I die but that I get to partner with God in revealing heaven on earth until I die. But make no mistake: God alone will finish that work when he permanently rips the veil between his dimension of heaven and our dimension of earth in the fifth and final act of history (see Revelation 21).
And contrary to the caricature of heaven as an immaterial gathering of disembodied souls, Scripture makes crystal clear that God’s final creation—just like the first one—is spiritual and material. God never intended to “fit us for heaven, to live with [him] there.” He promised heaven on earth and to dwell with us here (see Revelation 21:1-5).
And what will we be doing on earth for eternity? Not reclining in hammocks. Not strumming harps. We “will reign for ever and ever” with God. Which is exactly how the biblical narrative began!
Then [the apostles] gathered around [Jesus] and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)
As we saw last week, Christ’s death and resurrection was sufficient to redeem every square inch of creation. The disciples knew this, of course, which is why they were giddily asking Jesus when he would reveal his kingdom in full.
But in his final words before his ascension, Jesus turned the disciples’ attention away from the timing of the kingdom and toward a task—specifically, the task of serving as his “witnesses.”
Expounding on the original Greek of this passage, Tim Keller explains that the word “witnesses” here means “more than simply winning...
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
The dominant version of “the gospel” preached today goes something like this: Jesus came to save us from our sins.
Every word of this “abridged gospel” is gloriously true. But it is tragically incomplete. Because while Christ certainly came to “seek and save the lost” (see Luke 19:10), he didn’t just come to seek and save lost souls. As today’s passage reminds us, he came to redeem “all things,” spiritual and material in Act 3 of The Unabridged Gospel.
But somehow this lie has entered modern Christian thinking that, as the popular saying goes, “The only two things that last for eternity are God’s Word and people.”
Can I be real a second? This phrase boils my blood for...
God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)
As we transition in the biblical narrative from Act 1 of Creation to Act 2 of the Fall, we move from glorious light to tragic darkness.
In Genesis 3, the serpent snuck in through the garden gate, Adam and Eve committed the first sin, and the shalom of Genesis 1 and 2 was shattered. Because now the entire world was rightly under God’s curse (see Genesis 3:1-19).
But Scripture makes clear that the curse broke much more than just our relationship with God. It broke everything God deemed “good” in Act 1—human beings, the nonhuman world, and the world of work.
As we saw last week, the First Commission to “fill the earth,” ‘subdue,” and “rule” it —to “make the earth useful for human beings’ benefit and enjoyment”—was God’s first gift to humankind (see Genesis...
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule…” (Genesis 1:26, 28)
The pervasive “abridged gospel” starts in Genesis 3 and ends at Easter. But as theologian Dr. Sandra Richter explains, “I am unable to share the gospel without speaking of Eden. Because when we ask the salvation question, what we are really asking is, what did [Adam] lose? And…what did [Jesus] buy back?”
That's why, we’re spending the next 5 weeks unpacking The Unabridged Gospel from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 and what it means for our work.
Our journey begins in Act 1 of Creation where God spent six days working with his words (see Genesis 1) and his hands (see Genesis 2:7–21). Then, God created his children to share in his love, creation, and vocation! Genesis 1 and 2 make clear that God never...
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. (John 3:16)
You and I are staking our lives on the gospel of Jesus Christ. But what is the gospel of Jesus Christ exactly?
One mega Christian influencer defines the gospel as “the good news that Jesus came to earth to make it possible for all of us to live forever with Him in heaven.” In one of the bestselling books of all time, one pastor declares that “[God] wants all his lost children found! That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth” on Christmas Day.
These statements are examples of what I call The Abridged Gospel, which can be summarized like this:
The Abridged Gospel: Jesus came to save people from their sins.
While every word of that statement is gloriously true, there are three major problems with defining the gospel in this way.
First, The Abridged Gospel is incomplete. It distills the good news of God’s Word into a two-act drama—humans sinned; Christ...