A lot of Christians are rather sad because they’re taught that the world is bad and getting worse. Some support can be found for this viewpoint based on modern rapture theology. More on that in a moment.
This morning I found the quotes below. Yes, I’m ‘cheating’, in that it’s not scripture, but I found them inspirational:
Those that always search for good in the world and those that always search for evil in the world will both find their missions equally satisfied.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
(Both quotes via Reddit)
I read a book on the ‘end times’ a few years ago called Raptureless, by Jonathan Welton, and I am convinced that the events spoken of in the New Testament and the book of Revelation have largely already been fulfilled in 70 A.D.. If you believe the Tribulation has not already occurred and that you’ll be beamed out of here before things get really bad, you won’t invest in the future because there’s no point.
I am largely optimistic of the future of the church because of the confidence I have in the Spirit of God, by whom ‘we shall overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.’ He who began the good work in us will bring it to completion. Christ has not given up on us yet, and he never will.
Will there be a rapture and resurrection? Possibly. I leave that up to God. I don’t think it will look like anything we know, though, and I don’t think it will occur in my lifetime, because the Church has not overcome yet.
What I do know is that the Spirit of God is waking up his church to realize the power that he has already put inside us by the Holy Spirit. I believe we have cause to be optimistic overall.
One of the reasons I am optimistic about the power of Christ within to overcome all opposition is that I have seen that power clearly evident in my life! I am 37 years old, nearly 38, and have never been as mentally and emotionally healthy in my life. Every day is a day of overcoming old hang-ups and old fears that robbed me of joy before. Every day I feel the power of God working out the kinks in my mind, old mindsets, ‘strongholds’, that were keeping me miserable.
The other reason I am optimistic is that I see in the Scriptures, especially in the book of Acts, an emphasis on believers and disciples of Christ overcoming the world. Threatened with beatings, stoning, and death, the Apostles and congregations making up the body of Christ repeatedly overcame all opposition, by being willing to serve Christ and others unto death if necessary.
Am I saying that we won’t go through persecution? Nah. We’re pretty much guaranteed, as Christians, that things won’t always be peachy. Matthew 10:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Ack! Depressing, right? Nah. I see it as confirmation: you’re going to go through some hard times, but you’ll have wisdom available (‘be wise as serpents’), guidance as to what to say (‘do not be anxious…what you are the say will be given to you’), and supernatural endurance (‘the one who endures to the end’).
Paul is confident of that supernatural endurance in Philippians 1:6:
I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
and 1 Corinthians 15:10:
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
Here is where I see the Church in the future: as an overcomer. Already we see the changing of the guard, in that those who have preached the old ideas of ‘Christ above’ and ‘Christ outside’ are passing on or becoming irrelevant, and more and more are awakening to the reality of Christ within, an inner anarchy against religious mindsets, if you will.
I am not a ‘seven mountains dominionist’, but I do believe that open-minded Christians full of the love of Christ, who have the revelation of and are confident of Christ within, will become leaders and teachers, increasingly relevant in a world that has become unanchored and leaderless.
I don’t look to a rapture or Christ’s return any time soon–though these are nice thoughts–because there is still so much to do! There are millions, even billions, who subscribe to theologies of anger and hatred worldwide. There are still oppressive governments. There are still hurting people everywhere. Not ‘every tear has been wiped from every eye.’ Who will do the wiping of the tears? I submit that it’s not after death and in heaven, but as we get revelation of Christ in us, that we will overcome, and we will wipe away every tear from every eye.
‘Why so downcast? Put your trust in God.’ Get in touch with He who works within, and allow him to wipe away your fears and anxiety. Look forward to today and tomorrow and every day, having the confidence that Christ within is powerful enough to overcome all opposition in your life, and when he has helped you and mended you, that he will help you help others overcome whatever opposes them.