Are You Going to Heaven?

May 27, 2006

Yes, my few and faithful readers, I ask you the question because that is what the Bible is all about: Are you going to heaven when you die? For you see, when Jesus came to the earth, he came to offer a new way of salvation, to tell those pharisees that they couldn't work their way to heaven, but instead had to accept the message of the kingdom of heaven (short, erm, long for heaven) that Jesus died so you wouldn't have to spend an eternity in a devil's hell.

Gah. Well, I left Friday morning to visit my girlfriend's college with her family and my mom. It was a 4-5 hour ride, and after we finished her business in the college we went to see X-Men III. What an awesome movie.

Anyway, you might be wondering what that speal above and the title are all about. At the college, I noticed the evangelistic tracts were all entitled exactly or similar to my statement above: "are you going to heaven?" or "do you know you are going to heaven?" Now, I have been hearing this my entire life, and it is only recently since I've begun to broaden my biblical and theological by reading horizon (Wright, Witherington, etc) that I've realized that the message of Christianity is really not about your immediate post-mortem destiny. In fact, little preaching in the NT focuses on "going to heaven" or even about the dangers of the fiery pits of hell and how Jesus came so you can avoid going there. This puzzles me.

The gospel is so rich and complex, ruling and reforming every part of life (I'm not denying it affects the post-mortem destiny). This makes me ask: how do I preach the gospel? What do I say? "Cause of Adam we're all born with a sin nature and that means we sin and go to hell, so we need to ask Jesus to forgive us of our sin so we can go to heaven when we die for eternity." I mean, I think those things are true, but it just seems so, gah, I don't know how to describe it. Inadequate? Caricature-like?

I doubt that most of the people with whom I come in contact are very worried about God taking away the wall of partition and saying all, Jew and Gentile alike, can approach God now, when only Jews could before. Nor are they worried much about the eschatological hope of Israel being fulfilled in the death and resurrection of the Messiah. I don't say this to trivialize these incredible truths of justification by faith and national restoration, but I just don't know how to contemporize the message. Of course, we preach the crucified and raised Christ, but how do we tell people this matters for you?

So, how do you preach the gospel?

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7 Responses to “Are You Going to Heaven?”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Better be careful or the watchblogs will be declaring you a heretic!

  2. Jonathan Says:

    I presume you’re feeling a lot better now?


  3. Well, I’m here and there. I got out of the hospital on Wednesday, but as usual, I ended up feeling crappy the next few days (I think I picked up something up in there, or just being cooped up in there makes me sick). Thankfully I am no longer coughing up any blood, and I’m trying to get out as much mucus as possible. I’m on an oral antibiotic, and I haven’t had any side effects so far. My energy level is much higher now, and I’m glad I was able to go on my trip. My only problem is this continual chest pain that I’m having.

    So I’m no 100% yet, but I’m getting there. Praise Christ!

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Small steps… small steps 😉

  5. Byron Says:

    Heaven when you die cuts the legs out from receiving God’s good gift of life now. And for those who don’t find it good, but a bitter drink full of tears and pain (hospital doesn’t sound fun, BTW), then it is precisely hope for the resurrection of the dead, the liberation of this creation from bondage to decay, that keeps you going and keeps you grieving. Without hope for the world, there is no grief, simply detachment and a focus on the ‘heavenly’ at the expense of the everyday joys and sorrows we must face. Check out this quote and this one too.

  6. Kyle Says:

    Ooh, sicky. I hope you’re feeling better by now!

    And in response to the question!

    I like to talk about God saving the world in and through Jesus, both 2000 years ago, right now, and in the future. In those terms, really. And saving and restoring and healing each of us is an important subset of the ‘saving the world’ project. No need to talk about heaven, and it sounds silly anyway. What most folks (christian or not) think about heaven probably isn’t what God has in mind anyway. Jesus’ love has to mean something now, not (just) after death. And it’s only going to mean something now if it works through our own, as halted and faltering as it might often be.

    :0)


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