Every Sunday morning growing up, we had a tradition in the Stacy house. My dad would take the newspaper and circle the NFL teams he thought were going to win that day. When my brother and I got older, we’d mark our initials next to a helmet, and see how we did. Usually the winner got the last Entenmann’s donut. We made a game out of predicting the future. Maybe you can relate.
Can you predict your tomorrow? What about next week, or 5 years from now? Certainly would be a helpful skill.
I’ve always been fascinated with the term “futurist” and those who call themselves futurists. (How do you get such a cool title?) Maybe for you, the word makes you think of those people who made hilarious predictions a half-century ago — weren’t we supposed to be able to teleport by now?
A futurist doesn’t just make predictions; trying to see the future. A futurist also makes the future. With a kind nod to professional-I-get-paid-for-this futurists, I’d like to kindly suggest that in a general way: everyone is a futurist. (excuse me while I go change my Twitter bio)
Secularists and soccer moms, your Uber driver and my next door neighbor, we all have our eyes on the future. But for followers of Jesus, I think there is a specific strand of futurism that we are actually called to. Christians are invited to recognize that — in Christ — God’s future is breaking into the present.
Being a “Christian Futurist” isn’t that much of a stretch when we see what the Scriptures say about resurrection. When Paul describes Jesus in Colossians 1.18 as “the firstborn of the dead” — he’s not saying that Jesus is a zombie.
Jesus is the new humanity, the first of God’s resurrection future. This future began the moment Jesus exited the tomb. What’s true of Jesus, says the New Testament, will be true — one day — of all Christians, everywhere and everywhen: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (I Corinthians 15.49)
Christian futurism changes this life too. Mark quotes John the Baptist, Jesus’ precursor: “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Because Jesus sends the Spirit, there is also life before death, not just life after death. The Spirit changes everything about your Monday morning. He applies the life and ways of Jesus to His people. He brings the future into today by transforming the lives of Christ followers.
Christian futurists don’t live segmented lives, just waiting for death to really live. Instead, a Christian futurist seeks to embody the future (wrapped up in who Jesus is, what he stands for, and most importantly what he’s done) in their present. For a Christian futurist, following Jesus isn’t just waiting to get to heaven, but living out the future culture of heaven, today on earth.