In “a future life” Jefferson Vann shares more thoughts about the Christian hope based on a reading of John Eldredge’s All things New.
a future life
“For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:27 NET).
This week I finished reading John Eldredge’s All Things New. I really enjoy his approach. Although he is not a conditionalist, and he does not believe in an unconscious intermediate state, he is absolutely on target when he talks about the restored new earth being the Christian hope.
“I have never had one private conversation with any follower of Christ who spoke of their hope of being handsomely rewarded.” (p.187).
Eldredge shows that rewards for faithfulness in this life will be given to believers in future life, on a restored earth. In addition to the verse above, he cites Matthew 5:12, which says that our reward is waiting for us in heaven. But according to 16:27 it will come to us when Jesus returns. We don’t come to it when we die. It is being stored up (Matthew 6:20) — not to be given at our death, but to be given when Jesus comes to restore all things.
He also cites Matthew 6:1-4; 10:41; Ephesians 6:7-8; Colossians 3:23-24; Hebrews 10:35; 11:24-26. The challenge for us as conditionalists is to show Christians that death is not the time for reward. Perhaps these verses will help:
“(Look! I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to pay each one according to what he has done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end!)” (Revelation 22:12-13 NET).
We look to the return of Christ when there will be an accounting: Matthew 25:14,19; Luke 19:12; Matthew 24:42; Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Peter 3:12; 1 Peter 1:13.
Eldredge engages in a great deal of speculation about what we will actually do, the way the earth will look, the presence of animals, etc. And why not? Why should we not dream about our future life. Dreaming about the substance of our future life is so much better that the sickly answers people give about disembodied spirits floating around in heaven.
I recommend Eldredge’s book because it puts its finger on the pulse of the biblical hope: not a distant unknown place, but this place, renewed, restored and glorified.
For more book and article reviews, see: