Excerpts from An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith - Chapter 29 by Dave Hunt
The Bible begins with God creating the universe and it ends with Him destroying it entirely and creating afresh a "new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation:21:1). From beginning to end, history is the eternal God fulfilling His immutable purpose. Once we get a clear view of the cosmic proportions of God's plan, we lose any delusions as to our own greatness and are delivered from all mistaken notions that we can somehow fulfill human destiny by our own efforts.
From this perspective, it is ludicrous to imagine that the church, by organizing conservative voters or even by preaching the gospel, is going to establish God's kingdom. The true and eternal kingdom of God involves not just this small planet but all creation, including the purging by the blood of Jesus and the remaking of heaven itself. Nothing could be better established from Scripture and logic than the glorious fact that the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose is something that only He can accomplish. Obviously, we can only be part of that plan as we allow Him to have His way in and through us.
This realization puts us on our faces before God in wonder and worship and causes us to yield ourselves wholeheartedly to His will. Unfortunately, that awesome sense of the greatness of God and the cosmic and eternal proportions of the work that He is doing seems largely absent from Christianity today. Could this be why so many carry the self-imposed burdens of the many "programs" they are trying to put into effect in order to "live victorious lives" or to "advance the cause of Christ"? When we see that the task is totally beyond our capabilities, then we cease from our striving and begin to allow Him to work in and through us by His mighty power.
Many object to this heavenly/eternal perspective as "pie-in-the-sky in the sweet by-and-by" talk. There are warnings about being so "heavenly minded" that one is of "no earthly good." We must be practical, so the argument goes, meeting first of all the earthly needs of ourselves and of others and doing our best to make this world a better place for everyone.
Yet Christ himself continually turned the focus of His followers from earth to heaven. Throughout Scripture we are counseled to live at all times with the understanding that life on this earth is very brief and that it is followed by an eternal existence of either indescribable bliss in God's presence or unbearable agony in separation from Him. Peter declares that the knowledge that "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise...[and] the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Peter:3:10) causes us to live godly lives. And John adds that the hope of being transformed into His likeness when He shall appear causes us to purify ourselves (1 John:3:2-3).
Of course, the greatest motivation is the love that is born in our hearts as we realize that the Creator of the universe loves each of us so much that He became a man to die in our place. This love has captured our affection so that we gladly declare that we are His and His alone for eternity. Accepting the death of Jesus Christ as our own death, we have given up life as we would have lived it so that He can live His resurrection life through us. The eternal kingdom has already begun in every heart where the King reigns! Moreover, as His bride, we long to be united in that heavenly marriage with Christ our Bridegroom and to honeymoon with Him forever in His Father's house! Forever we will worship and praise the One who has made all things new!
Many would have us believe that self-love is the answer to the world's ills. Both Christian leaders and the unsaved are teaching and preaching this lie. In fact, it is self-love that has wrought the ills of the world: greed, lust, and envy. What we actually need is a passionate love for God and His Word, turning us from earthly ambitions to heavenly hope.
Peace cannot be achieved personally until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, reigns in our hearts. And peace on this earth will not be seen until the King of kings comes to reign. But startlingly enough, even His presence will not turn men from their determination to rule their own kingdom. Not even a kingdom ruled by Christ on this earth is our hope, but heaven itself; and in the new heavens and new earth God's will is finally done "on earth as it is in heaven" because heaven and earth have become one.
Then what is the Millennium? Quite clearly, it is God's final proof of the incorrigible evil of the human heart. Even Christ, having turned earth into a paradise rivaling the Garden of Eden, ruling with a rod of iron, and the redeemed in glorified bodies reigning with Him cannot change the human heart or make men willingly obey Him. There is no way to reform the present human race. It must be put to death in Christ and created anew through faith in Him. The kingdom begins in individual hearts when Christ the King is received to reign within.
When finally the Kingdom of God is realized, it will be in a completely new universe to replace the present one, which will have been destroyed by one great conflagration (2 Peter:3:10-13). That new creation will be inhabited only by sinless angels and men and women who themselves have been made new creations through faith in Christ. Then heaven and earth will be one with God's will truly done on earth as it is in heaven. This is the bright future true believers look forward to for all eternity.
Meanwhile, in this present world of evil and tribulation, it is not unusual for a believer to feel discouraged and even depressed by his or her own failure. At such times it seems impossible to believe that God could ever be pleased with us or that He would really accept us into heaven. We find it so very difficult to rest in His grace and love when we realize that we are absolutely unworthy of heaven. Yet our greatest joy comes from the wonder, amazement, and gratitude that He would take such wretched, unworthy sinners and grant us the joy of heaven!
We will never be worthy of heaven or of His love. That sense of self-worth that so many Christian leaders, deceived by Christian psychology, are attempting to foster among the redeemed, would ruin heaven by turning some of the attention and glory from God and the Lamb to ourselves. We will always be creatures and He the Creator; we will always be sinners saved by grace and bought with His blood, and He will ever be our glorious Savior. Because His infinite love for us has filled us with love for Him, our passion for eternity will ever be to see Him exalted and praised and to love Him with all the capacity He supplies. His eternal joy will be to bless us with Himself. Such will be the wonder and ecstasy of heaven.
God desires to have us in His presence even more than we could ever desire to be there. He loves us with a love that will never let us go. And because He has captured our affection, we will be eternally bound by love to Him--a love that not only flows to us from God, but which our redeemed hearts will return to Him with a purity and heavenly joy that will be to His eternal glory.