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N.T. Wright on Resurrection and Mission

Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest

N. T. Wright's book, Surprised by Hope, is full of biblical insight on the resurrection and the ascension in light of God's plans for our future. Throughout the book he makes the point that the hope of resurrection is not an escape plan into a future realm called heaven. Rather, it is the first fruit of a great transformation which will eventually result in a new earth and a new heaven. Through the atoning death of Christ and His resurrection power the entire world will eventually be completely overhauled. Until that day we are called to join God in expanding the reign of Christ in this world while anticipating that His reign will be fully consummated in the world to come. In other words, resurrection, is not only a basis for our present and future hope, it is a call to engage in mission. Here's a short quote to whet your appetite for more:

"[The resurrection and ascension] are designed not to take us away from this earth but rather to make us agents of the transformation of this earth...

Faced with his beautiful and powerful creation in rebellion, God longed to set it right, to rescue it from continuing corruption and impending chaos and to bring it back into order and fruitfulness. God longed, in other words, to reestablish his wise sovereignty over the whole creation, which would mean a great act of healing and rescue.

He did not want to rescue humans from creation any more than he wanted to rescue Israel from the Gentiles. He wanted to rescue Israel in order that Israel might be a light to the Gentiles, and he wanted thereby to rescue humans in order that humans might be his rescuing stewards over creation...

Atonement, redemption, and salvation are what happen on the way because engaging in this work demands that people themselves be rescued from the powers that enslave the world in order that they can in turn be rescuers. To put it another way, if you want to help inaugurate God's kingdom, you must follow in the way of the cross, and if you want to benefit from Jesus's saving death, you must become part of his Kingdom project.

Heaven's rule, God's rule, is thus to be put into practice in the world, resulting in salvation in both the present and the future, a salvation that is both for humans and, through saved human, for the wider world. This is the solid basis for the mission of the church."

But you are the chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you--from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10 Message

2010 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog,]