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The Great Divide: Death and Destiny

Heaven, the Radical Hope

March 15, 2020 • Jon Thompson

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” — John 14:1. In the face of trouble, Jesus comforts his followers by asking us to trust him with all things—including our beliefs about heaven. According to Jesus, understanding the nature and promise of heaven leads to radical hope. When we correct our misconceptions about “going to heaven”, we discover a more powerful and profound hope, one that empowers us to lead counter-cultural lives marked by love and joy irrespective of our circumstances. Heaven is more about the person than the place—and it starts with us.

Hell, the Great Divorce

March 8, 2020 • Jon Thompson

The doctrine of hell is one of the most difficult aspects of Christian faith for many people—so why should we talk about it? The famed theologian J. I. Packer gives us three reasons: 1. The idea of hell is being debated and debunked frivolously in modern culture; 2. There is no such thing as the “Good News” without the other side; and 3. Jesus talked about it—a lot.

Jesus, the Coming Judge

March 1, 2020 • Jon Thompson

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:44. Jesus made several things clear through his teachings: judgment is real, we will all give an account, and he is the judge. Your view about how the world will end directly affects how you live on earth today. God’s judgment satisfies our need for justice in the world—but we must be careful not to separate it from another part of God’s character: his grace. Jesus is the risen the judge—and forgiver. The heart of the gospel is the supreme truth that God accepts us with no conditions when we put our trust in Jesus. As N. T Wright puts it, “In the word of the risen Jesus, we find judgment and forgiveness coming home at the deepest and most personal level.” In the end, everyone will come face-to-face with God. The only question is whether we face him alone, or covered by grace alone.