Rooted 4 New Creation How does all the Mess get put right?
- What would your ideal world be like? You can describe it, write about it, draw/paint it … etc.
As we have seen so far, the World we live in and experience is far from idea. This World was made good but it has been corrupted because of our sin. We were made in God’s image but the Bible tells us that we exchanged the image of God for a lie (Romans 1:23). We were made to know God and to love him but that relationship has been broken.
A Look at the Bible
Read Revelation 21 v 1-8
These are some of the last words in the Bible. John who was one of Jesus’s 12 disciples gets to see in a vision what God has planned right up until the end of history.
- What does he see has happened to the world as we know it? (v1)
- What does he compare the “New Jerusalem” to? (v2)
- Where is God’s home going to be? (v3)
- What will happen to sadness? (v4)
- What will God do? (v5-7)
- What happens to wicked people )v8)
Revelation is full of vivid descriptions and lots of picture language. The Bible often portrays God’s People (The Church ) like a bride being made beautiful and ready for her wedding day. So when John talks about “The New Jerusalem” he is describing The Church. He uses the imagery of Jerusalem because this was the capital city of Israel. It was a strong, safe place and it was where the Temple was. So the earthly Jerusalem represented the safety and security that came from knoing God’s presence.
Here we are reminded that God is present with his church. We are safe from eternal danger, not because of anything we do but because God chooses to love us, save us and protect us.
John sees the future. A day is coming when the world as we know it will go. Jesus will come again and bring judgement. There will be a “new creation.” A world without evil, suffering, sickness or sadness. God will “make his home” with us. We will be safe and secure with him. This is awonderful picture of the future. It almost seems too good to be true. And yet, if God is eternal and knows the beginning from the end then we are not dealing with what-ifs and pipe dreams here. God knows the end from the beginning. He lets John see what will really happen in the future.
When Jesus comes, the wicked will be judged. John sees a Lake of Fire representing Hell. Our sin means that we deserve eternal death. We deserve to be separated from God’s loving presence for ever. John lists all kinds of sin, cowardice, corruption, murder, idolatry and so on. He describes outward violence but he also describes the inward failure to love God with our whole being and our neighbours as much as ourselves.
That does not sound like such good news. We want to be with God, to know him and experience the joy of being in his presence forever. We look forward to a day when suffering is banished for ever. But we know that this should exclude us too. We cause too much suffering ourselves.
So how can I be sure that I will be with Jesus in this wonderful new creation. How can I be safe from judgement and Hell? For the answer, read 2 Corinthians 5.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are told that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” In some older versions instead of “new person” you will find the words “new creation.” We can be part of the new creation by becoming new people. That’s the good news at the heart of Christianity. When Jesus died on the Cross, he took all of your guilt and shame on himself. But not only did he take the penalty of sin onto himself, there was a great exchange.
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
This new life is not just a clean slate or fresh start. As well as taking our guilt and shame on himself, but Jesus gives us righteousness. We have a new status, a new identity. As we saw in our last study, we are justified.
The apostle Paul who wrote 2 Corinthians also says that the result of this is that in Christ we are reconciled to God.
What does this mean? Well it means that the New Creation has started now. God is already at work undoing the mess, putting things to right. He starts with you and me. This happens when we stop believing lies about Him and start believing the Truth. It starts when we trust him to forgives us and clean up the mess in our own lives.
We learn to trust him, to live our everyday lives differently. We start to put others’ needs first and to seek their good. We learn to keep going even through tough times. We learn to look forward to the day when Jesus will come back and complete the work of putting creation right.
A Look at ourselves
So now we come to the end of this course and it’s a good time to take stock.
- Where do you fit in with all this? Are you part of God’s new creation? Have you put your trust in Jesus?
- In what ways are you starting to live differently?