Yes or no. Prosperity preachers can say “Money answers to everything” until the islands flee away; money will not register in the real world of Truth and Life. In fact, we have seen how the church idolizes the rich instead of warning them about the difficulty of finding the way to the kingdom. This money message is an example of how a standard of the secular world, which is the domain attached to Solomon’s wisdom, gets a seat at the Messianic table. The poor still gets despised when what really works is the embrace of Father-love. We harass the lost with our particular doctrines instead of engaging in a sincere show and tell of the Saviour’s excellence (1 Peter 2:9). Mammon or man do not deserve that honour.
Confused about life and death?
Entities are either dead or alive. Only God is eternal. Immortality must be a gift if man possesses it. God’s ability to create and annihilate is not in question. We recognize that both the unseen and the seen facets of a person can be destroyed in fire. The wind, the desires of the human heart, the pain of loss and bereavement are all unseen, but are not eternal. There is is no eternal human. We all die. We are all dead. Adam needed exactly what we need: someone to care for him. Immortality then, coming to light through the Gospel, is that most precious gift that represents what we “look like” when grace is done with us. God does not take back his gifts.
Fire will consume both men and angels. In particular we have not seen where immortality is not God’s gift with which he complements his creation’s new mind with a body like Christ’s. The renewed person has the mind of Christ, which is practically access to a fruity lifestyle (Gal. 5:22) and humble service (1 Cor. 12:18-13:13). No-one would dare to debate the fact of a new person: new thinking and standing, new desires and work. The new person is a work in progress, growing in grace, and awaiting the crown of life, immortality. Hence a converted person is a new process, not a product, a new creation, not a new creature.
As Christ’s sheep we have become familiar with truth. We hear his voice and will not follow another (John 10:5). This is an important part of our safety. Hearing that voice must certainly mean seeing him in the story. Sadly, in our stories, we are discovering versions of the Gospel. Both the learned person and the unlearned are increasingly in a position to muddy the waters and trample the grass the sheep need. There is only one gospel.
It is becoming more and more of a torture routine to find out what straight lines believers have that connect them with saving realities. Many people find themselves unable to say the obvious without embellishing. The simple truth, Christ died, Christ rose, is sufficient. There is no duty to polish up the perfect. But the witness who thinks that he or she needs to update the gospel with a biblical hook other than cross-glory is merely putting up a fig-leag to cover his orientation and knowledge. This is like putting up our money after the sales clerk says “Your bill is paid in full”.
After having four witness in the gospels, (not two or three!), tell us that Christ preached, taught, and kept his head down until his time came to die, we recognize that a gospel that puts money at the centre, or Law and prophets on the lampstand, is not even good storytelling.
So our looking back connects us with happening things, things tethered to God’s eternal mind. Christian looking back to the Cross is looking at now in its most dynamic face.