Monday, April 28, 2014

What if . . .? Musings on God, Salvation, Gospel, and Church

What if God's eternal purpose is fellowship with us on the earth created for hosting such a fellowship?

What if God made us to be his royal representatives in and priests for creation's well-being and flourishing?

What if we rejected God and God's purposes?

What if God never changed his purpose but instead set about pursuing it in spite of us?

What if Israel was the means by which God sought to pursue and achieve his purpose?

What if almost all Israel defaulted on God's purpose for it?

What if the point of Jesus (the one faithful Israelite) and his work was achieving this purpose, which he called the "kingdom of God" or, in John, "eternal life"?

What if God raised him from the dead to vindicate and validate Jesus as the One who fulfilled and fulfills his purpose?

What if "following Jesus" or "faith" or "discipleship" or "salvation" means experiencing and sharing in spreading that purpose even now, even here?

What if sharing the news that God in Christ has achieved the purpose for which he created us and our world is what we call "gospel"?

What if this gospel means both God's reclamation of rebels through forgiveness and restoration to his original purposes?

What if "church" is those erstwhile rebels who have accepted God's amnesty and enlisted in his service of spreading the reality of God's acceptance and restoration to those who haven't yet embraced it and pledged to combat (with the "violence of love," of course) the attitudes, actions, patterns and systems set in place in our rebellion against God?

Given, that God has and will fully and finally achieve his purposes, what if those who continue to reject and despise what God has done for them find themselves rejected (as long as they remain obdurate in rebellion), outside the eternal purpose of God for them - experience of and participation in sharing Jesus' achievement of God's will, now and forevermore?  What if this is hell?

Though we all fail at times to consistently live out God's intent for us, and though our best efforts fall sort of the fullness God wants, what if God will "judge" us and our work, affirming our acceptance in and through Christ, refining what we have done to save all done for love of Christ as "purified" material for the building of the New Jerusalem, and somehow loving those who remain rebellious to the end (if there be such) in a way that prevents their (deserved) destruction and (undeservedly) preserves them for God and leaves his achieving his purposes in and for them to him?

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