Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? // Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth // They say in Heaven love comes first // We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth // Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
Little did we know that Belinda Carlisle was on to something…
Maybe she was super informed by the Christ and His preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. Maybe Rob Bell had this song on repeat A LOT while he was writing Love Wins. At any rate, that’s the picture Bell’s painting in the second chapter of the book–that Jesus came to inagurate and bring Heaven on Earth.
The Christ’s invitation is to us to follow Him in building the Kingdom of God on Earth. That invitation is not just a free offer of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternity in Heaven (like we traditionally think of it, sans depictions from Coors Light commercials). In fact, Bell highlights that the offer of salvation/forgiveness/eternity is merely a part of what Jesus says it’s all about. No wonder the world looks at Christ followers and accuses us of not being on the ball of taking care of the environment, rising up against injustice, and helping Christ build Heaven on Earth! We’ve let people off the hook, in essence, and convinced them that eternity does start now. And if it doesn’t start now, what’s the point other than making sure we get enough people saved as possible?
To me, what Bell (and Jesus) is teaching doesn’t take away from the traditional amazingness we have been taught about Heaven. In fact, it adds to it and explodes how RAD I think the Christ is. We get to see glimpses of God’s idea of Heaven in the here and now! We have the chance to bring Heaven to the poor, the sick, the lost! And, we can do that alongside of sharing about salvation with people who don’t have a relationship with God.
Let’s get on this, people. Let’s start extending that hope that Rabbi Jesus offers, so people don’t have to wait until they kick the bucket before experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven.