I asked a man several weeks ago why he loved Jesus? I had been having some pretty good discussions with him and he was very passionate about how he talked about Jesus, God, and of course… the King James Version of the Bible.
I asked him this question after discussing our different understandings of grace, love, justice, heaven, and hell. He very passionately told me that those who never believed (rightly) in/about Jesus must be punished for their sins. God has to punish non-believer’s sin.
I thought it was a simple question, especially to someone who spoke so confidently about what he believed. Why do you love Jesus? Why do you “follow” Jesus?
The question seemed to have puzzled him. He hesitated as if he had to really think about his answer for a minute and as if he had never really given it much thought. And then his response was… “Because I don’t want to go to hell.” He then said it is better to be safe then sorry. I have heard other people suggest that if hell didn’t exist then there is no reason to follow Jesus.
What if Jesus really didn’t come to scare us into a “relationship” with him, but instead came to give us hope and invite us to join in the Kingdom of God here on earth? What if Jesus meant it when he instructed his followers to pray, “Your will be done ON EARTH” and he meant it when he said things like, “I am making ALL things new”?
I’ve always heard the saying, “Earth is not our home, and we are just passing through.”
What if Paul is right when he speaks of the restoration and reconciliation of EVERYTHING? What if Paul is on to something when he writes that the whole creation is waiting in anticipation to be restored?
If this is true, then being a follower of Christ is not merely believing the right doctrines so God will rapture us out of this world (which God created and called good) while leaving everyone else behind, but instead we follow Christ to join in the process of the recreation of this world in hopes that one day Jesus will usher in his Kingdom here on earth by restoring EVERYTHING and making ALL things new?
Thank God, Heaven is not our home.