There Is No After-life

Russell Moore pens a must-read article on our life, and the life of the universe, as a long, Christ-shaped story. This has been the insistent theme for me the last few years, thanks to many different sources. And here is a Baptist adding his well-said words, like another log on the fire. Please read the whole thing, but I want to highlight a few parts. –Sam

“The gospel of Christ is indeed the reversal of sin, and of death and hell. But without a broader context, such teaching can treat Christ as a means to an end, a step from the alpha of Eden to the omega of heaven. In a truly Christian vision of the kingdom of God, though, Jesus of Nazareth isn’t a hoop we jump through to extend our lives into eternity. Jesus is the kingdom of God in person. As such, he is the meaning of life, the goal of history, and the pattern of the future. The gospel of the kingdom starts and ends with the announcement that God has made Jesus the emperor—and that he plans to bend the cosmos to fit Jesus’ agenda, not the other way around.”

“Everywhere he went he announced the kingdom, and demonstrated its arrival by turning back the curse in all its forms. He is unperturbed by evil spirits, natural forces, and biological decay—they retreat at the sound of his voice. Why?Because, as he put it, “if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28). As the King, Jesus reestablished human rule over the angelic and natural orders by living out the destiny his fallen ancestors had forfeited. He established himself as a wise ruler with dominion over his own appetites, with a will, affections, and conscience directed by his Father instead of the “god of this age.” Free from the one power evil spirits have over the image-bearers of God—the accusation of sin (John 14:30)—he walked through human suffering, temptation, and the curse of death itself to wrest humanity from the Accuser’s fingers.”

“Jesus fulfilled both the hopes embedded in human psyches everywhere and, more specifically, the kingdom promises God made to the people of Israel. He applied that nation’s imagery—of temple, vine, shepherd, light of the nations, and so forth—to himself first, and then to those who are found in him. God’s purposes for creation and for his people are found in Jesus: cursed and condemned and handed over to Satan, but raised from the dead and marked out with the Spirit (Ezek. 37:1-14; Rom. 1:4). His teaching prepared his people, through stories and pictures and signs, for life in his new kingdom. And then he ushered it in as “the firstborn from the dead,” the “first-fruits” of God’s new creation project.”

“For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to ‘invite Jesus into your life.’ Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life’s a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life.”

“Those of us in Christ are anointed as kings and queens, but at present we judge only those within the church, where Jesus rules right now through Word and Spirit (1 Cor. 5). Putting our swords away, we proclaim to the world what the kingdom will look like, while modeling it through our mission of reconciliation and love.”

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Quotes from Russell D. Moore’s article in Christianity Today, A Purpose-Driven Cosmos: Why Jesus Doesn’t Promise Us an ‘Afterlife’

2 Comments

  1. I just keep coming back to this article. I think it’s the best explanation of the Gospel I’ve ever heard/read. Except for the Bible. The Bible does a pretty good job.

    Thanks for sharing.

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