And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mt 22:37, Lk 10:27, Mk 12:30
Heaven and Earth merging together is from Revelation 21 where the culmination of everything is taking place and God presents us with a new heaven and new earth merged together in the same dimension. All this happens after the return of Jesus Christ. In our Lord’s prayer we always ask “for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth as in heaven” and here it is finally, totally fulfilled.
Until then though, as Jesus followers, we are commissioned to serve our King by colonizing our corner of the world. How? By implementing God’s governmental (His Kingdom) way of serving others as Christ served His Father and others while he walked the earth.
In theological terms, when Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected, he rescued the human race. From a transaction view, he basically purchased us from Satan. From a relational view, he included the entire human race with Him in his finished mission at the cross. Therefore, every person we meet is connected to Jesus Christ whether or not they are aware of that truth.
Those of us who acknowledge that reality, and have surrendered to our King, are now engaged in full time service with our King. So, as we serve others (Matt 25), we are serving Jesus himself. On the other hand, those who are still ignorant of their relationship with Jesus, are still valued by Christ, and hopefully over time will come to realize who they truly are in relationship with Him, change their worldview (repent) and believe the good news.
Now there are those in the Reformed theological bent who strongly believe that God has left mankind on their own to bring about utopia. That God’s time table is predicated on how well we perform our responsibilities. On the other extreme there are those who believe that God is going to make everything happen no matter what we do. I believe the truth is somewhere in between.
The Book of Ephesians (2:10) reveals that each of us are created by God in Christ with unique talents and abilities for assignments prepared beforehand to do good work. As God opens our eyes to see the needs of people around us, we are to reach out and serve from God’s love for others in the same attitude Jesus describes in Luke 17:10. When the assignment is completed, we only did what is expected of us.
So, as usual, the questions and thoughts about our responsibility as Christ followers are never truly simple answers. My reply is a small smorgasbord of the bountifulness that is found in Jesus Christ. I have slowly learned however in my case, whenever I put more emphasis on me doing something rather than on Christ, I begin to drift away from the grace of God and become more judgmental of others in comparing the performance of others too my standard of Christianity. It always gets me in trouble. So, I like to always go back to Jesus and his relationship with His God and how Jesus served others. And even there I often get caught up in perceiving Jesus from my perspective rather than from the eye of Scripture.
When we recall our responsibility is to love God and others like Jesus loves us, and faithfully live it out each day, isn’t that asking for perfection? Yet isn’t that what God expects from each of us? And doesn’t that expression look differently for all of us? That is why we all so often look at the same portrait and leave with differences of opinion. But then again, isn’t that what makes life so much more exhilarating and unpredictable when you know you are safe in God’s hand fully living out His purpose while your brother and sister is doing the same? Expressing God’s love with and through people comes in many forms. Your unique way is one way. So why do others believe everyone else must show God’s love the same way they do?
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