Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Not yet, but getting there…

The fact that John died in prison should warn us of the difference between a biblical understanding of the kingdom and the triumphalistic assumptions of much that goes under the name of the “health—and-wealth gospel” or the “prosperity gospel.” Jesus himself endured rejection and death before resurrection, thus paralleling Israel’s experience of bondage in Egypt before deliverance and their exile in Babylon before return to the land. Paul himself says that we must suffer with Christ in order to attain to the resurrection (Phil. 3:10–11). Indeed, all creation is groaning in its bondage, awaiting liberation (Rom. 8:18–25). In other words, while resurrection, healing, and holistic restoration constitute the appropriate Christian hope——and there is substantial healing and restoration possible in the present—“hope” means that we trust in what is coming but is not yet with us in its fullness. We live between the times, after the inauguration of the kingdom but before its final consummation.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 272 n. 11

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