1. Jesus is NOT your “personal Lord and Savior.”
He is Lord and Savior but he is not yours. You are his. His mission to reclaim and restore God’s wayward creatures and damaged creation is much bigger than any individual. Better to say that what Jesus is up to is not about us, but we have graciously been included in what he is doing.
2. You will NOT spend eternity in heaven with God.
Heaven is a way station for whatever happens to us after death. Resurrection to a new body and life together with God on the new earth is our eternal destiny (“life after life after death” as N.T. Wright cleverly puts it”).
3. You will NOT spend eternity as a quasi-angelic choir member strumming harps and singing praise to God.
Not that God isn’t worthy of praise but he seems more interested in us doing something else: reigning (Rev.22:5). Or in other words, we will spend eternity doing what humans were created to do – represent and reflect God’s character and will and nurturing creation to its full flourishing.
4. Human beings are NOT billiard balls but molecules.
Though our culture teaches us to think of ourselves as self-contained, self-sufficient beings (billiard ball), Christian faith teaches us that we are like molecules, various elements related in particular ways that make us what we are. We might say that we are our relationships.
5. Human beings are NOT first and foremost sinners, even forgiven sinners.
That is what we have become. What we are by God’s creation and grace divine image-bearers, which means we are royal priests in his temple-creation. The gospel primarily invites us to take up anew and for the first time this primal dignity and vocation for which the announcement of forgiveness prepares the way.
6. God does NOT consider creation (physicality, materiality) less important or good than the inner, invisible, non-corporeal part of us we call “spirituality.”
This is Plato not Moses, Jesus, or Paul. And this belief that creation is somehow inferior or even a hindrance to spiritual growth, is extremely destructive. Creation is the “theater of God’s glory” on which humanity plays its role in God’s purpose. Redemption does not diminish or undo creation, rather creation is redeemed as the eternal habitation of God and his people. Creation care is as much about loving God and one another as any other aspect of discipleship. In fact, there is no genuine Christian spirituality that does not prize and draw close to creation.
7. Evangelism, sharing the “good news” of the gospel, is NOT about how Jesus forgives your sins.
It is about announcing that Jesus has conquered the powers that have damaged, disordered, and derailed God’s creation and plan and restored creature and creation to their creational design. Evangelism is the call and invitation for each of us to embrace what God has done for us in Christ and enlist in his renewal movement today.