I recently read Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller and also Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. Both are amazing books, focused on the resurrection theology that God will raise up a new heaven and a new earth, and we will dwell in the presence of God, not just sitting around, but living life with new redeemed bodies and doing redeemed work that isn't corrupted by sin.

The ideas of heaven are very exciting: that we won't be just sitting around playing harps, but will live much like we do currently, although without the corruption of sin and in the presence of God.

Another exciting theme in these books is that the work we do here matters towards the new heaven and new earth, and will be redeemed and made full when God comes. While this is exciting to me, it is also very confusing. Can anybody shed some light into how the work we do here transfers to Gods kingdom, according to Keller and/or Wright, even if it is "secular" in nature?

  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with your question, and everything to do with the fact that you're new here. As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page and How we are different than other sites? Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 3:25
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    This is a great question, and has been on my mind by similar sources: A few sermons that I recently listened to by Tim Keller, and a reading of Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright. I hope we get some more answers to this question.
    – user971
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 16:14
  • Flimzy has scoped this, so I am not voting to close. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 17:08

3 Answers 3


John 3:5,6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus here is instructing Nicodemus, which in verse 10 He says: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” The interesting thing here is that Jesus is chastising Nicodemus for not knowing that one has to be “born again” before His (Christ’s) completed work on the cross.

In the book of Hebrews chapter 11 we know that those that lived before the cross received a good report by faith.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

First Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The Book of Life appears to be an eternal genealogy, where the “books” seem to record ones life works, either born of the Holy Spirit or conceived and born outside of the will of God the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

So in answer to the question: Fire is the agent that separates eternal substance from temporal substance, this is also true with our life works as well. Fire typically depicts God's judgement.


The works themselves, the particular activity we engage in, do not seem to matter as much as the faithfulness to the Lord with which we render the works.

Matthew 24:45-51 shows us the outcome of the work. One servant found his usefulness recalled to mind when the master returned after a long while, and he was rewarded with greater responsibilities. But if that same servant had been found untrustworthy, then he would have been disqualified from any such reward. Note that the same servant is in view; we may prove trustworthy or not in the end; there is no guarantee that we'll reign with Christ; the trustworthiness of our character matters.

Matthew 25:14-30 shows us the same situation. The two servants who were faithful in what they did received greater responsibilities. The one servant who did not pursue his duties like the other two was rejected.

The idea is that if we are able to follow the Lord's will honorably when we cannot see Him, then we would be able to be trusted to follow Him in the next life with whatever commensurate responsibilities He gives us. See also Luke 16:11-12: "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

God wants to give us something to do in the future kingdom, but He will give it to those who have been found to be of such proven character that it can be entrusted to him/her. This is not a strange or weird idea. Many well-run businesses operate this way, rewarding the top performers (alas, not all governments are).

Luke 16:10 tells us, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." Do not despise the day of small things; God sees our work as serving Him or serving something else.


Galatians 6:7-9 (KJV)

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Our work in this verses begin with a season of sowing and ended with a season of reaping. Those who soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Ephesians 1:15-23 (KJV)

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

It seems to me that Jesus have all power over all principalities in this world and the world to come according to verse 21. And He shares that power with the Church according to verse 22 and 23. So, I think we are the rulers of this world and the world to come with Jesus as our head ruler.


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