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Redemption and the Gospel

June 23, 2008

A lot of words are being written these days claiming that the resurrection of Jesus was not merely to save men from their sins, but also to redeem the whole creation from decay. The idea is that Jesus came to “reverse the curse” that began at the fall from Eden. Part of the story these writers weave is that the new heaven and the new earth described in Rev 21-22 is the present creation in a redeemed state. For them, the resurrection from the dead is a physical resurrection occurring in this present physical world. And the redeeming work of Jesus was intended not only to save men from their sins but to return all of creation to the original state of Eden.

I am not very fond of this point of view, nor of all the attention it is gathering. It certainly is at variance with the traditional view held for nearly 2000 years. Regardless, in my opinion all the attention on these things distracts from the core gospel message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. Focusing on theories about the redemption of the physical world leads to conclusions about environmentalism, conservation, and politics, all heavily influenced by the philosophies of our modern world. These theories are at best questionable inferences from scripture. I believe they distract from the core gospel message. Time spent talking about those things is time not spent dealing with our own sin and repentance and our own relationships with God.

Why did Jesus come into the world? In His own words:

Luk 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The apostle Paul said the same thing:

1Ti 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.

What was the message Jesus called the twelve to preach?

Luk 24:46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
Luk 24:47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And what is the message the apostles preached?

1Co 15:1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
1Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
1Co 15:6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
1Co 15:8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
1Co 15:11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

We don’t see the apostles preaching a gospel of environmentalism, nor of conservation, nor of popular political agendas. Their message was to call individual people to be reconciled to God.

There are many things we just don’t know about the second coming, the new heaven, the new earth, and the destruction (or not) of this present world. God has given us only a metaphorical picture of these things. I don’t object to people having theories about the specifics, but we need to admit that we really don’t know. Whatever form that takes, I’m going to go along with it! In the meantime, our focus needs to be on getting ourselves, and those around us, reconciled to God, and growing in the Christian virtues. God has revealed clearly that those are the primary matters we should be concerned about in this life.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I have scratched my head often reading about this view. I know it certainly still pains me to give birth and my husband still sweats when he works outdoors. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one still living in a fallen world!


  2. HiPlease don’t mind. This might interest you.The SecondComing of Jesus has already happened in the form of the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908 fullfilling the signs as prophesised by Jesus and Muhammad. In my opinion, the Christians, Muslims and Jews should accept him.Kindly visit my blog for interesting posts in this connection for your peaceful comments and or discussions on the pages/posts there. Differing opinions are also welcome.ThanksI am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim


  3. Hi paarsurrey,Sorry but I don’t buy it. Rev 1:7 tells us that every eye will see him when he returns. And I haven’t seen him.



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