Escape or Restoration?
It may not be the number one topic of our discussions, but it pretty much pervades our thinking and has major implications on our outlook and the reasons why we engage or not. Where are we headed? What is God’s intended story? How will it continue past the climactic moments we envision through the many escalating battles?
Only in the West have we experienced an expression of Christian belief that has been blessed with tremendous prosperity and relative peace. We have come to the place where we forgot major parts of our story and the many lives that were sacrificed to reap such a blessing. Because of our very padded view of Christian life we find it difficult to believe that God could ever let His people experience tremendous persecution and pain in order to advance His purposes.
The same blessing that came through the many who gave their lives for the cause of the Gospel is being born in many nations around the world. The blood of the martyrs is crying out and will have its reward.
Is this why the end-time views of the west have largely been one of escapism? Does our comfort dictate how we read Scripture? Are we false prophets interpreting the God-breathed word?
Why all this pain up until this point, just to rescue a remnant that is too fearful to face the future? This cannot be the true bride of Christ rising up?
Our God is doing far more than that. Look to the nations! See the spiritual forces playing their cards through the most perverse and violent expressions. This is a time where they are being exposed. Those that surrender to Jesus and crown Him Lord and Savior will see their eternal reward. He guides our steps and ordains circumstances. We lack wisdom and insight to understand why some have to go through such torment, while others are in such peace and prosperity. Let us not forget that we stand on the shoulders of those that went before us. For some, they must still be forerunners, breaking the spiritual ground.
Jesus taught us to pray “Let your Kingdom come! Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Several of the prophets declared that a day will come when there is again peace on earth, yes even that all things will be made new. A new (saved) creation is God’s promise. In the Book or Revelation we also read about the promise. All things will be made new, and more than that, the Heavenly city will descend and God will make His dwelling among us.
Romans tells us that all of creation is groaning as with birth pains. It is longing for the revelation of the children of God.
If we only consider the words of Jesus to pray that the Kingdom will come and His command that we make disciples of all nations, this is enough to engage in the brokenness we see around us. Beyond being fishers of men, we are also advancing God’s redemptive purposes for all of creation. He is redeeming EVERYTHING. Granted it is still a mystery to many how the climactic moments of this redemption will look, but our calling is to engage and advance the Kingdom. We are called to be a house of prayer, drawing God’s will down on earth and manifesting that through our work in any category He calls us.
If we see our mission merely as a rescue mission for people, then we easily tend to resort to ‘canning-Christianity’ where people are invited into an institutional church and ‘preserved’ there until they die or Jesus returns.
If, on the other hand we see ourselves as co-workers with the Most High God who is deliberately influencing local and global events towards the purpose of redeeming and restoring every single purpose He set in motion at Creation, including doing away with sin through the incredible sacrifice Jesus made – then, all of a sudden, nothing is exempt. We already have testimonies from around the world that God is actually healing and restoring the very land, soil, air and water – healing what was broken. Every thought and movement we make must be redeemed and sanctified to serve God. This makes life so thrilling and the opportunities become endless!
Yes, we are entering epic battles, but this is even more of a reason to be equipped on every level and in every area of life. Abide in the truth and the truth shall make you free!
How we envision the ‘end’ is crucial for how we engage and what we invite people into. The Kingdom of God is all-encompassing. He set it all in motion. Sin is the issue and in Jesus Christ this has been dealt with. The deceiver and spiritual darkness is raging and being exposed in our time. It is a wake-up call and time to give ourselves fully to the King. He has bought back what was lost and is now working to rebuild what was broken. No, we don’t know all the final details, but He has called us to engage. It is time to stand together under the fullness of the presence of God in Spirit and in Truth.
Jesus is winning!