There has been no little discussion of the after life, Hell, and the end of the world in recent Christian discourse. Our eschatology—our understanding of the “last things”—must and should shape our lives in Christ. We are a people of hope and promise, followers of a Savior who interrupted history with an unexpected glimpse of the future. Moreover, God’s mission is oriented toward a particular end, which frames all that we would do and say in his name.
The early believers were motivated by an inner necessity to proclaim the Gospel to every nation.This necessity arises from the eschatological events of salvation. It was not a “strategic consideration to gain more members” but the result of a deeply held conviction that Christ himself was necessary for the life of the whole world and for its salvation (Acts 4:12).23 At the same time, this eschatological orientation is intensely personal.The proclamation of the Good News is an invitation to enter a relationship with the person of Christ.What we seek to mediate is communion with a personal being. Only within the framework of such a relationship can the words of the Gospel connote both reality and the knowledge of that reality. Our message, then, is not primarily information about some truth but is itself a reality— communion with a personal being.
Announcing, as it does, the coming kingdom of God, this mission of the church is to be universal, a message for all people (1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Pet. 3:9). It is to be above all narrow national- isms and all exclusiveness (Col. 3:11). It must also be a permanent aspect of the church’s life, practiced until Christ returns. Mission is rooted in the eschatological events of salvation and is sustained by the living eschatological consciousness of the church.
—Edward Rommen, “Last Things: The Eschatological Dimensions of the Church,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 33, no. 3 (July 2009): 117-118.
Let us not forget this inseparable connection. We have no interest in the end apart from what God is doing right now, through us, to get there. Hope is not escapism. Likewise, our present mission makes no sense apart from the goal toward which God calls us. We may not all be seers, but we must still live out Jesus’ vision of the future. May the future kingdom continue to break into the present, on earth as in heaven.