Thursday, January 5, 2012

All Things New!

This post would have been more timely at the begining of this week, but Happy New Year (better late than never)!

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Rev 21:1-7

As we begin a new year, one thing is sure ...we are another year closer to the fulfillment of this prophesy that we find in Revelation 21. And perhaps it is because of promises such as this one for a new heaven and a new earth, that we look forward with anticipation to each new year.

In the passage above, God said "Behold, I make all things new." Obviously we have good reason to believe this. The same one who sits upon the throne and promises this new heaven and new earth and a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, is the same one who created it all so long ago. If we go back to the book of Genesis, we see the story of how God spoke the world into existence. God said, let there be light: and there was light. By his word, God separated the dry land from the sea. He called trees and grass and animals into existence, and it was all NEW! And it was GOOD! ...that is until we messed it up. And when I say we, I am including all of us in along with Adam, because though he was technically the one to get thrown out of the paradise that was the garden of Eden, if he hadn't done it, you or I certainly would have.

Have you ever thought that? Adam only had one law given to him to keep - why couldn't he have just kept it? The ruin this world is in, is all Adam's fault, right? Yes, ...but my answer to that is, which one of God's laws have you never broken?

And that, in effect was the Old Covenant, or Testament as we most often call it. If Adam had obeyed God, he and his would have lived, but Adam ate of the forbidden tree and death entered into the world. All was not lost though! No sooner had we broken the old covenant, than God promised that a new covenant would replace it. We get the smallest glimpse of that promise in Genesis 3:15 when God tells the serpent that he "will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Further on in Genesis we see a little more of that picture of the New Covenant in the story of Abraham offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice. In fact throughout the Old Testament, more and more of the picture that is the New Covenant, or New Testament are revealed. But when we get to the Gospels, finally all the pieces of that picture which is the New Covenant, are revealed. The picture becomes clear and vivid. The New Covenant is that Jesus Christ lived the sinless life that was required of us, and not only that, but he died paying the penalty for our sins that was required of us. And he sealed that New Covenant with his own blood.

Entry into this New Covenant begins with a New Birth. As the Bible tells us in John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

When you are newly born, obviously everything is new to you. It is the same with this spiritual rebirth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Does that sound familiar? In the text we began with in Revelation, God said "Behold, I make all things new."

This new creature that God says we will become once we are born again, leads to something else new. How we act. Romans 6:4 "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Here Paul compares the way our conscious decision to be obedient to Christ causes us to conduct our lives differently with being raised from the dead! If we experience a New Birth, resulting in our being a New Creature, then walking in this newness of life should show up as some sort of recognizable change.

We all experience the New Year, every year. But not all experience the New Birth, or becoming a New Creature and walking in Newness of Life. And for those who never have, I must go back to our original text to the verse that follows it. The first seven verses of Revelation 21 are filled with all kinds of wonderful promises such as a new heaven and new earth, God dwelling with us and wiping away all tears from our eyes, and making all things new. But verse 8 says this: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

If you have never entered into the New Covenant by way of the New Birth, then you are one of those mentioned in that verse, and I would focus on one of those in particular: the unbelieving! But it is never to late this side of the grave. Won't you come to God in repentance, putting your faith in the fact that Jesus Christ died for your sins?


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

St. Lee said...

Hi Steve, thanks for stopping by and the invitation. I checked out your blog, and though I didn't spend a lot of time there, I did see some good things ...but also some things I have to disagree with. You seem very to be a very strong proponent of baptismal regeneration. My answer to that would be this:

Matt.3:14-15 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

That tells me that Jesus considered baptism a work of righteousness.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

This tells me that works of righteousness do not save us. Nowhere in this verse or the surrounding text is baptism mentioned. You have to read "baptism" into "washing of regeneration", but it is not there. "Washing of regeneration" means the cleansing of being born again.
At this point many would claim you to be trusting in a works based salvation. I am not willing go that far, but it does bring up a question that I oft ponder: Just how much well meaning but mistaken doctrine separates a true Christian from a false? I don't pretend to know the answer to that, but I am quite sure we will all find out soon enough. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!