It has been said that Christians are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good. While this may be the case with some Christians, this ought never to be the case with the Christian faith.
The Apostle Peter exhorted Christians to set their hope on the grace coming to them when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:13). He was referring to Christ’s second coming.
For many the second coming of Christ evokes images of bazar, horrific events followed by divine judgement. However, the meaning behind those events is justice and restoration.
We all want justice. The problem is we all want it on our own terms. Divine judgement is not some arbitrary condemnation. God alone is able to judge every action impartially (1 Peter 1:17). His second coming will correct all injustices and set all things right. Miroslav Volf is a Croatian theologian. His people experienced ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. He said, “the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine judgement.” If victims feel there will be no judgement against the actions of their perpetrators, they will feel the need to take up arms and secure their own justice. The belief in a Divine Judge who will ultimately judge every action allows Christians to respond to injustice in ways that would be nonsensical without one. Non-violence leaves room for God’s just judgement and paves the way for social transformation through peaceful means.
Jesus second coming also means restoration. Peter exhorts Christians to be holy (1 Peter 1:15), because holy restoration is the trajectory creation is heading. If you knew what economic markets would weather the pandemic well, you would invest accordingly and become rich. Similarly Christians seek to allow heavenly values to shape how they live and respond to present circumstances. Money will mean nothing. Prestige, beauty, and popularity they know will fade away. However, acts of kindness, justice, and grace carry over into the eternal state of affairs. Christians live out heavenly values on earth, even when living on earth feels like living in hell.
So, is belief in an afterlife and new created order simply pie in the sky for the bye and bye? I think not. What you believe about the end of the day shapes how you live during it.