Over and over again I see how some fellow Christian activists want to de-emphasize the importance of Heaven. It is often claimed that the reason why traditional evangelical and charismatic churches have not been so involved in promoting peace and justice is because there is too much focus on Heaven, salvation and evangelism – they don’t want to waste their energy and time on politics and activism when they can use it to save souls instead.
To revolt against this heresy, some Christian activists go to another extreme, meaning that giving people eternal life wasn’t Jesus’ main concern, that the Kingdom is mainly here and now and not there and then, that evangelism is not so important, etc. God’s focus is primarily earth, not heaven, and we should mimic that, they claim.
However, Paul wrote:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col 3:1-2)
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil 3:19-21)
In both of these passages, Paul is not telling us that too much focus on Heaven is bad for you, rather, focus on earth is. Not because we should ignore the world’s problems, but in order to solve them we must leave the world’s mindset and have a heavenly mindset (Rom 12:1-2). Christ is seated on the throne in Heaven and when we focus on Heaven we focus on Him. Then when we know what Heaven is like (free from hunger, war and suffering for example) we’ll pray “on earth as it is in heaven!” and let the power of the Holy Spirit establish the politics of the Kingdom of Heaven through us.
Christians that claim thay we don’t have time for activism because of evangelism don’t have too much focus on heaven, they’re just, well, stupid. Jesus clearly commanded us to do radical activism (Mt 5, 25 etc) and as people see our good deeds they will praise God (Mt 5:16). If you’re not promoting peace and justice you’ve totally missed what the Kingdom is about. But that’s also the case if you’re not sharing the Gospel and preach about Heaven.
Seriously, if we are so passionate about giving people a pretty good life for around 80 years, with still a lot of inevitable suffering, how much more passionate shouldn’t we be to give people an eternal life totally free from suffering?
“When some of the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, he answered, saying to them, The kingdom of God does not come by observation.
Neither will they say, Behold, it is here! or, behold, it is there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21
‘Within you’, such is the significant phrase, for it does mean that we own responsibility to the here and now. The keys unlocking the kingdom are awareness and acknowledgement of the common deity within self and the other, for we are all children of God. Injustice, injury, inequity to any one is injustice, injury, inequity to all. The point is emphasized in the second chapter of James:
“Though a man say he has faith, what profit is it, my brethren, if he does not have works? Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked and lacking of daily food,
And one of you says to him, Depart in peace, be warmed and be filled; yet you do not give to him those things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Even so, by itself, faith without works is dead.
For a man may say, You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:14-18