Yes, there is heaven, and there is hell-but the question “What are we being saved from?” posted by teaching elder John Vest is surely facing the wrong direction. He wants to go around the answer he believes orthodox Christians give, which he sees as this:
American pop Christianity has a pretty straightforward answer: we’re being saved from hell. The narrative of this common understanding of Christianity is simple. Every human being will one day be judged by God, with the righteous going to heaven and the wicked going to hell. But as sinners, we are all by nature worthy of eternal punishment in hell. This is where Jesus steps in, through his bloody death (and maybe something about his resurrection), to somehow save us from the wrathful hands of our angry God.
Like a growing number of people, I just don’t find this story very compelling anymore.
But perhaps there is more to the answer—Jesus saves us from ‘death- forever death.’ And of course the resurrection, the bodily resurrection, looms big in the answer. It isn’t just something about the resurrection. The gospel in a nutshell is “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” But God in his holy word goes much further so that we might understand. Jesus’ words:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. This is the will of him who sent me, that of all that he has given me; I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day. (John 6: 37-40)
So the will of the Father is that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him will have eternal life. And that life is the life of the Son. Beautiful words. Words that will not fail us. Many want to move away from a bloody cross, but a life that dies with the dying Christ, and rises with him, united forever to the risen Son of God, bearing his righteousness alone, will live this earthly life with grace shining toward and for the world’s brokenness and live forever in the eternal shelter of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.