Flash Forward

What if you could catch a glimpse of your future? That’s the premise of a new TV show called Flash Forward.

I’ve watched the first three episodes and it’s not too bad, if you like sci-fi stories. The premise is that everyone in the world blacks out at the same moment and stays out for a couple of minutes. While they’re out each person sees himself or herself a few months in the future and sees whatever they will be doing at that precise future moment.

Some people see themselves at work, some at home, some in the bathroom, etc. Each person now has to decide whether he believes that the flash forward is accurate and, if so, what he will do with this information.

I think I see a parallel with the gospel.

In the resurrection and ascension of Jesus every person that lives has been given a flash forward of his or her destiny. To see the last Adam, Jesus Christ, resurrected in his glorified humanity and ascended to the Father’s right hand is to see what our Father in heaven has planned for everyone of us. As St. Paul says:

As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ~ 1 Cor. 15:22

The Father “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6) so that we now have a vision of ourselves “hidden with Christ in God” so that when Christ appears we also “will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4.)

Like the people in the TV show we have a decision to make.

Is this vision of our future that we have been given in Jesus – this flash forward to what we will be one day – true or not true? And if it is true, is it a good thing or a bad one? And if it is good or bad, what difference does it make in the decisions and choices we make today?

If this flash forward of humanity’s future in Christ is true and good, then it is the best news we could ever receive. It is the news that our future is secure and our destiny as the Father’s children in Jesus is ultimately a bright and beautiful destiny.

I for one believe it.

~ Jonathan Stepp

5 comments so far

  1. Boyd Merriman on

    God believes it for sure!
    Rom 4:17 “…[He] calls things that are not as though they were.”

    Boyd

  2. greg on

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for your post. Question: in what way do my decisions matter? If I hear the trinitarian incarnational view correctly, our individual decisions to beleive matter because of what triune God has accomplished already through Jesus Christ. What I’m interested in now is the daily details of participating in the life of God. I used to think my decisions created ultimate reality, now I’m thinking they create my experiential reality. Our decisions have to matter, but it seems they matter because of Jesus Christ and what was/is being accomplished in the incarnation. Care to clarify or expound here? I’m fighting to understand.

    Greg

  3. Jerome on

    Great analogy to how the Gospel calls us to respond! And it really is GOOD NEWS, as you outlined! (Thank You, Holy, Triune God!) MUCH better than how some friends of mine (former co-congregants) portray the Gospel and our decision in regard to it: “The gospel is like people on an airplane that find out that it is going to suffer a devastating crash in 2 minutes SO they are DESPERATELY glad to receive a parachute. (People make a decision for Christ to save themselves from a Holy God’s just wrath and punishment – eternity in an ever-burning hell! Anything else is a “soft” gospel.”) In this view of the gospel, there is a complete dualism in describing God’s love, and love as we experience it as human beings. In essence, I Corinthians 13 ONLY applies to humans, not to Father-Son-Holy Spirit God. Lord, help us! It is similar to what I remember some people saying in 1995-96 (old WCG’ers will understand…): “What’s all this Jesus stuff???”

  4. Pastor Jonathan on

    Thanks for the encouraging comments guys. Jerome, I appreciate what you pointed out about 1 Cor. 13 – we definitely create a bizarre view of God when we think that passage describes what’s required of us without describing who God the Father, Son, and Spirit is!
    Greg, I think you’ve expressed the importance of our decisions well when you say “I used to think my decisions created ultimate reality, now I’m thinking they create my experiential reality.” The most important decision is the one that the Father made to adopt humanity in Jesus, by the power of their Spirit. The second most important decision is the one we all make about whether we believe that we are adopted. Our decision doesn’t cause us to be adopted – Jesus caused that. But our initial decision to believe, along with all of our thousands of decisions to keep believing after that, determines whether we will experience the full reality of our adoption or whether we will blind to it. So, I would say that in Jesus we have all received a “flash forward” of our ultimate destiny and now we have to decide whether to live in faith that this “flash forward” is true or whether to live in doubt about it. Thankfully we are never on our own, not even in faith, for Jesus is sharing his faith with us through his Spirit (Eph. 2:8). Jesus sees and knows that the “flash forward” we have in him is true and he is constantly sharing his certain knowledge of that truth with us. What we call “faith” is Jesus’ sharing of his certainty with us through his Spirit. I really see our role as one of surrender. We have to be willing to give up our own wrong, negative, sinful thoughts that cause us to doubt the truth of who Jesus is and accept as truthful the thoughts of faith that Jesus is sharing with us.

  5. greg on

    Thanks for your reply Jonathan. The teaching in the church I grew up in tended to emphasize human decision to receive Jesus over triune God’s decision to adopt humanity through the incarnation. Or maybe I wasn’t hearing accurately what was being taught, I’m not sure. The incredible thing I’m hearing these days (and thank you for your part in this!) is that God actually likes people, likes me. As your buddy Tim Brassell says, “Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!” God is good.
    -Greg


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