Friday, August 7, 2009

Thoughts on the Gospel: Part 2 (Guest Blogger - Kris Hassanpour)

You need to read part 1 HERE 1st!
You can also read my intro of Kris (this guest blogger author) HERE.

OK, now for Part 2 of Kris' thoughts on the Gospel... [emphasis is mine]

**a work in progress**

The gospel is the message of reconciliation for all people and of all things to God though Christ (2 Cor 5:19).

Some Points to Consider:
The typical version of the gospel previously mentioned has not completely failed the church. It has produced a realization of the truth for many and in many cases it has presented itself in the form of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For that, I am grateful since I became a follower of Christ through a similar presentation of the gospel.
I might only urge that, along with the presentation of sin-wrath-cross-heaven, we include God's intention to restore all things to their original intention. This means that a re-worked presentation of the gospel might actually start with creation and end at restoration (new heaven and new earth) and include the themes of sin-wrath-cross-heaven. Even teaching that one can go to heaven when he dies fails to mention that there remains a renewal of their body and life on earth. Believers who die are ushered into the presence of the Lord; however, they are also awaiting the day when all things will be restored - including their former bodies and their former life on earth. Both of these things (our bodies and our earthly existence) are not destroyed but renewed. Salvation is not being rescued from these things but the beginning of God's work in renewing them! We should not view either of these things as insignificant. We are obligated to take care of our bodies in a way consistent with temple of God imagery in scripture; and, we are obligated to create a community of faith within the community at large in a way that is consistent with God's initial plan for mankind in the Garden of Eden and man's reflection of the Tri-unity of God (unity in diversity). Ordinary life in thankfulness to God having received Jesus Christ as King is extremely glorifying to God.

Going to heaven when we die isn't our final resting place. God will ultimately renew our bodies and restore the earth to its original sinless, deathless condition. We will once again inhabit the new heavens and the new earth in our new bodies. In other words, we should not view life on earth as meaningless or insignificant or even temporary. It is a reflection of what our future lives will be like on the new earth (what life will be like "in heaven", as though we will live forever outside of our bodies and outside of the earthly realm). We are joined with God in his mission to renew much more than the human soul. Once we are saved, we are expected to recreate the kind of community that was intended in the first place (garden of Eden) through the church. This is is the purpose of the gospel and mission of the church.

1) God was happy to create the world and everything was very good.
2) Man was given responsibilities that pertain to ordinary life - work, care for animals, care for the land, care for wife, care for God's command, etc. Man was also expected to live in relationship with God and in harmony with each other (reflecting the unity in plurality of the Tri-unity of God).
3) Because of sin, death/corruption entered into the world; and consequently, sin and death are passed from Adam and Eve down to every man and woman.
4) The sin, death, injustice, evil, apathy, inconsideration of others, etc. that we see in our world is a result of the Fall. Ultimately, sin is any deviation from man's initial responsibilities in the Garden and is the disfiguration of God's image in us (e.g., from community to individualism). It is precisely what Paul refers to as the corruption we see in nature and mankind. This disobedience/rebellion of man has resulted in God's rejection/wrath in this life and the next when we face him for judgment.
5) But God has been progressively revealing himself and his plan to recreate and renew all things. His final and truest revelation/representation of Himself is Jesus Christ (the very image of God). Jesus Christ is God in human form. He represents not only the saving of our souls in his death and resurrection, but the value of ordinary life by his life of righteousness among us before his 3-year stint in ministry. His perfect life, his death, and his resurrection provide for us the satisfaction of God's wrath and the reconciliation of God himself.
6) Faith in Jesus Christ places us in favorable standing with God through Jesus Christ and teaches us the way of life that best glorifies God - an ordinary one, in dependence upon him with thanksgiving and in community with others in unity. Teaching others this way of life is making disciples (which is what Christ actually commissioned us to do) and churches are formed as any number of these disciples gather for worship.

***Those are Kris' raw thoughts. & we would love to know what you think. Remember, these thoughts are a "work in progress" & I know he would love the discussion!



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