There are two eschatologies on sale today in the marketplace of ideas. Most people are buying Utopia as their eschatological choice. Utopia is humanistically conceived idea of the future and it comes under a variety of brands – Marxist Socialism, Capitalist Prosperityism, Evolutionary Darwinism, Freudian Peace of Mindism, Escapist Alcoholism, Mystic Withdrawalism… the list could go on and on. These various Utopias are simply a variety of ways of denying or at least undervaluing the other choice: the eschatology of the Bible.
I want to point to two aspects of this second choice, both of them filled with beauty.
The first is its simplicity – the simple fact of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus. That is the way Biblical eschatology begins. Our hope for the future is wrapped up in this simple event. Jesus simply came out of the tomb where he had been laid after he died on the cross. He was truly dead, but on the third day he walked out of the tomb under his own power and he is now living forever on the throne of Heaven. That is a fact so beautiful and so simple that we can never find adequate words to describe it.
The second is its power – the power of the Resurrection forever overcame Satan and Sin and liberated mankind from the eternal misery of his guilt. The Resurrection completed the work that Jesus began on the cross where he covered our sin with his blood. His Resurrection has great power, the force of an eternal proclamation, declaring that we are justified (Romans 4:25) and so admitted to eternal communion with God. Eternal communion with God is our eschatology – the last thing that happens to us and the thing that goes on forever. The Jeweled walls and golden streets of Heaven are indeed beautiful, but to be the friend of God forever is the supreme wonder of Biblical Eschatology.
So why is Utopia so popular? Why are so many people buying these various brands of Utopia?
The answer is simple. The price of Biblical Eschatology is too high. But how can I say that when we all know that salvation is completely free? Salvation is by grace through faith + nothing. It is totally free. But that is just the problem for fallen sinful man.
Through the Fall into sin, Satan was able to form us in the shape of his own Pride. That Pride was not a minor feature in fallen man but the key feature. It is a towering monument in the imagination of every fallen man, bewitching him into thinking that he can do anything he wants to do by himself. This includes creating his own eschatology, his own future. He is the “captain” of his own fate and determined never to surrender his rule over his own life.
So the price is just too high. His pride is too dear to him/her. The joy of communion with God is not sufficient incentive to give up this pride.
Now, of course, there is another problem. We Christians do not give as clear a testimony as we might to the Joy we have in our communion with God. Sour spirited Christians live as a contradiction to the Resurrection of Christ. There is no heavenly quality in their lives. This should never be.
Our hope in the Resurrection of Christ can be a powerful witness to our friends still lost in sin. Yes, it is true that their pride is a forbidding power that seems unbreakable. But the Holy Spirit is still using Resurrection-hearted people to draw sinners to the Savior. Let’s fill our hearts so full of our victorious Savior that his Resurrection victory is reflected in all of life, in love for our families and in love for our neighbors who are still outside of Christ and the eternal joy he always brings.