Friday, December 18, 2020

You don't want to hear this

The apocalyptic pattern emphasizes that until Christ returns, salvation is only partial; Christian hope thus involves waiting patiently for the unveiling on the last day. To be faithful in the interim, as we live toward the parousia, Christian discipleship will be cruciform, following the pattern of Christ’s life, and will therefore often be characterized by suffering and sacrifice; this is because of the ethical tension between the promised kingdom of God and the powers of the present age. The cruciform pattern of the Christian life is very hard for contemporary Westerners to hear, since we (and I include myself here) typically want quick fixes, and we somehow think that our (presumed) faithfulness should make us immune to suffering. It turns out, on the contrary, that faithfulness to Christ and our love for others will often require a voluntary taking up of suffering on our part in order to live ethically in this fallen world.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 211

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