Saturday, May 25, 2013

Over-Realized Eschatology

Miss yesterday's study post on the Triumphal Entry?  Click here.

I've talked on this blog before about why "bad things happen to good people," but I recently encountered a term that I think explains one facet of the reason even better: Over-realized eschatology.

Let's start with the phrase itself, just in case you are unfamiliar with the terminology.
  • Eschatology - in the Christian realm, this word basically means studying what the Bible says about the End Times and beyond.  So, it's not only the tribulation period, but also the thousand-year reign and eternity with the new heaven and new earth.
  • Over-realized - this is a "regular" term (but not one often used in everyday American English) that refers to expecting something to happen or be fulfilled either too early or too much.
  • So, put together, we realize that over-realized eschatology means expecting the good things about heaven to be in our lives now, here on Earth.
Now, before we move on, please note that a lot of people and groups go deep into this concept and apply it to many, many different doctrinal issues.  I'm not using this term like that, I'm not familiar with all aspects of the broad-scope debate, and I am using this term in a very limited manner.  All I'm doing today is using it as a spring-board to talk about why bad things happen to Christians.  Okay? :-)

So, back to the topic at hand...

Bad things - like health problems, violent crimes, loss of jobs, etc. - happen to Christians because we still live in a fallen world.  Our world is the devil's domain, full of our sin...and getting saved doesn't change that fact.  That is what the ugliness of human sin does to the place.  We can't expect any different until Christ's reign at the very end eradicates sin - and its consequences along with it.

A quick-fire listing of other reasons includes:
  • God can use bad things in our lives to teach us to become more like Him.
  • God can use bad things in our lives so that others can see the godly manner in which we handle them and be drawn to Christ.
  • Persecution-based "bad things" are actually promised to us in Scripture - because the devil is waging war against us, and our response to persecution draws others to Christ.
There are plenty more reasons why bad things happen to Christians...what can you think of?

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