James and I were talking today about all manner of things, and he dropped a little thought bomb that I thought I would share in rough form, before I’ve given it a lot of time to process and make my answer somewhat cogent (though I will no doubt do so soon…)
Proposition: What if God exists, and Jesus comes down, and everything we believe about Christianity remained constant, except there was no promise of eternal reward: i.e. there were no heaven, or at the very least we were not promised that we would go there simply by serving God/believing in Him/insert your own requirements here?
Given the above, here are a few questions:
1. Would you still serve God and attempt to live a “holy” lifestyle?
2. How would that change your view of the “Gospel”?
3. What does your answer to the first two questions tell you about the role that selfishness plays in your own personal decision to follow Christ?
4. If we as Christians are actually doing everything we’re doing ultimately so that we won’t end up in hell, does it mean that we may actually end up “doing all the right things”, yet still end up there anyway because our inward motivation was wrong?
5. How would this conflict with the current goals and ideas of mainstream American Christianity as a whole, and whatever local community of believers you find yourself a part of?
While this question is, in some sense, purely hypothetical, I none the less think it an important question to answer, or to at least think about.
I would be interested in hearing some of your comments on the subject.