Having attended a very worthwhile and thought provoking church weekend away on the new creation, and in an attempt to help me remember some key truths and applications, I thought I’d commit to page (or screen) 10 things I’ve learned. These truths apply to those who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you find this list helpful, thoughts and comments below are welcome!
For someone like me who often finds it difficult to imagine what the New Creation will be like, these verses are great in that they tell us that as the New Earth will be an actual place with objects, animals, people etc. but without the pain, suffering and ‘fallen-ness’ of this current earth, and will be totally new, whilst the old earth will be destroyed. Thus, scripture such as this puts to bed any idea that we’ll be floating in the sky in white linen trousers eating soft cheese all day!
2. The New Creation will be place where we will be in perfect relationship with God (Revelation 22:1-5)
Although the process of God working to restore a relationship between believers and himself is already taking place here on earth (through the redemption of our souls through the blood of Jesus Christ as is told us in the book of Romans) therefore meaning we can begin to enjoy the benefits of communion with God now, this relationship will be made perfect when Jesus comes again and fully reunites us to himself. What a great thing to look forward to, and what better motivation can there be to keep going through the trials and tribulations of this life?
3. Faith matters now because it acts as a deposit for the future (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10, Ephesians 1:13-14)
God has acted in showing love for sinners (Romans 5:8) in sending his son to die for us so that though faith, which is a gift from God (Philippians 1:29-30) we might have a relationship with him. This gift of faith, which results in the Holy Spirit being deposited in us as is massively important because it’s God’s way of putting down a down-payment for us, which guarantees that when Jesus comes again, we’ll be part of the people taken to be with him in the New Creation. What an encouragement!
4. The New Creation is an essential component of God’s plan (Ephesians 1:9-10, John 18:36)
This fourth point essentially follows on from points 2 and 3 in that the Bible doesn’t see the New Creation as an ‘add on’ or merely something at the end not to think about that much now, but as something central to what God is doing today. That is, as the Bible as a whole lays out God gathering a people to himself, for himself, which although taking place right now, will be fully realised in the new creation.
5. The New Creation should therefore shape how we live now (Hebrews 11:13,16, 2 Peter 3:10-13, 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10, Philippians 1:21)
That is, given the certainty given in the Bible that the New Creation will be real, will happen, and is eternal (whereas our lives on this earth are mere drops in the ocean in comparison) these realities should shape the way we live now. Are the decisions we’re making today made in light of the New Creation? This question isn’t meant as a beat up, more as an encouragement to ‘store up treasures in heaven.’ This is explained further in the next point.
6. It’s a good idea to spend time building up both our Godly character and that of other believers (2 Peter 1:1-11, 1 Peter 4:1-11, Matthew 6:19-21)
Given that the material things that the earth (and I) hold so dear will perish and be of no value in the New Creation (see 1), why not be thinking about how we can be investing in our own and others Godly character, which is imperishable and will last into eternity? There are many ways in which this can be done, from serving the body (that is, the church) to meeting with and speaking the truth to each other in love, to regularly meditating on scripture and praying.
7. We should be encouraging others about the New Creation (Romans 8:18-25, Hebrews 10:23-25)
Not completely unrelated to the last point, and given the trials and tribulations we can face on earth now, as well as the things we can idolise and focus in on at the expense of Jesus, whether they be jobs, relationships, our football team, money, music or whatever, it’s probably a good idea to encourage others (and ourselves!) that what we experience here on earth isn’t it. As I’ve said elsewhere, given how incredible the new creation will be, why not when someone’s looking or feeling a bit down (or even if they’re not!) encourage them that on because of what’s to come its worth keeping going in the faith until the end. Or to look at it the other way, the things we enjoy here on earth (football, curry, relationships, family, films, etc.) will pale into insignificance when compared with what is to come.
8. We’ll be getting new bodies in the New Creation. (1 Corinthians 15:42, Philippians 3:21)
Although the Godly character we build up now will last to the new creation, our physical bodies will not, we’ll be getting new ones! One of the implications of this is that we can use our bodies up to serve one another as outlined in 6. Whilst this doesn’t mean we should necessarily abuse our bodies by eating donuts/takeaway food/chocolate all day, or cast aside normative rules about hygiene, it does (amongst many other things) free us to use our bodies in light of the new creation, glorifying God, serving our brothers and sisters and helping build the church.
9. We are called to ‘lose life now to gain life later.’ (Mark 8:34-38)
This emphasis on the New Creation, and its prime importance in God’s plan for the world and his people is overtly stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Mark, where he says to that whoever would follow him should have their priorities firmly rooted in the New Creation. As I’m sure you’d agree, this is a very challenging thing of the Messiah to say to us in a western culture which has no real concept of any sort of life beyond this earth. What will it mean for us both individually and corporately to lose life now in light of the new creation?
10. What do I day dream about?
Taking into account how great the New Creation is going to be, and given that we tend to day dream about stuff we’re into, I wonder how many of us day dream about the New Creation? I know I don’t, but why is that? Is it because we think it won’t be that good, or because we value things on this earth as greater than anything else? Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say that day dreaming about scoring the winning goal at the 2018 world cup (as I do from time to time) is wrong in itself, but perhaps such day dreams should make us think along the lines of ‘this looks and sounds pretty fantastic in my head, but the new creation will be even better!’ Note, this isn’t to say that there will or won’t be international sporting tournaments in the new creation, I don’t know!