For November 20, 2022
The Apostle John was the last remaining of the Twelve Disciples who spent every waking moment with the Lord for three years. He loved Jesus dearly and often sat next to the Lord, where he could lean against the Lord, as the Disciples ate together. Jesus thought highly of John as well, that while being crucified on Calvary’s Cross, He assigned John to care for Mary, His mother.
He outran Peter to the empty tomb and saw the neatly folded grave clothes after hearing about the Lord’s resurrection. He was also with the other Disciples when Jesus appeared to them in the upper room and beside the Sea of Galilee after the resurrection. He experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and saw the rise of the New Testament Church.
He saw the persecution of the Saints, the destruction of Jerusalem, and experienced exile from tyrannical Roman emperors. Yet, while exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the Lord visited him and relayed these comforting words,
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5 (NKJV)
To understand why Jesus promises to “Make all things new,” we should start at the beginning, when God created a perfect world where we could share in His eternal bliss.
Before sin, we had intimacy with God as our constant Friend and Companion. We felt His love in full measure, which gave us unending joy and satisfaction. As our Faithful Provider, God gave us all we needed to live in full contentment.
To water the plants and trees that gave us esthetically pleasing, delicious, and nutritious fruits and vegetables, He designed a perfect subterranean irrigation system. Clothing was unnecessary in our climate-controlled environment with neither rain nor storms. In our perfect setting, God protected, nurtured, and provided for us thoroughly.
God created the human species “in His image,” elevated and distinct from all other earthly creatures. He made us perfectly, as male and female, to procreate, to be good stewards over the earth, and to exercise dominion over the animal kingdom. (Genesis 1:27-28) One author relates our being created in God’s image this way,
In making man after his own image, therefore, God endowed him with those attributes which belong to his own nature as a spirit. Man is thereby distinguished from all other inhabitants of this world, and raised immeasurably above them. He belongs to the same order of being as God Himself, and is therefore capable of communion with his Maker. This conformity of nature between man and God, is not only the distinguishing prerogative of humanity, so far as earthly creatures are concerned, but it is also the necessary condition of our capacity to know God, and therefore the foundation of our religious nature. If we were not like God, we could not know Him.1
In that idyllic setting—free from sin, pain, sorrow, illness, fear, or death—we experienced His holiness, peace, and joy in full measure. In every way, we prospered and flourished abundantly.
There was one caveat. We could not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2:16-17) Subsequently, we disobeyed God and fell from our perfection. Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, at the fruit and immediately fell from that holy and happy state. Moreover, as their offspring, the entire human race is contaminated by sin and death. Herein lies the Fall of humanity, as one author describes along with its tragic outcomes,
[The Fall is] the original act of Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God and lost their intimate relationship with him (Genesis 3). They fell from perfect communion with God to a state of imperfect communion with him. By this act sin entered into the life of the human race in that instead of enjoying the fact of being God’s creatures, human beings lacked a meaningful and loving relationship with their Creator.2
After eating the “forbidden fruit,” we lost our perfection, exchanging it for sin, decay, and death. The most devastating outcome is universal sin, which results in our separation from God—for all have sinned. (Romans 3:23)
Separated from our Loving Creator, we have a “God sized” spiritual vacuum inside us that yearns to restore our pre-Fall intimacy with our Creator and Lord. As Adam and Eve’s sin-tainted offspring, we tend to reject following the ordinances of God, just as they did. We also rely on subterfuge to avoid personal accountability with impunity. Sin’s insidiousness causes us to behave poorly, even when we have noble intentions,
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (AKJV)
Our human depravity prevents us from achieving moral and spiritual perfection, as this author notes,
[Original Sin is] a term to denote the effect of Adam’s sin upon the moral life of his descendants. It is formally defined as “that whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil”… The fact of sin in this sense is plainly proclaimed in Scripture … and borne witness to by history and human self-consciousness.3
Some will argue that we are not inherently hateful, self-serving, or prejudice, and that we can perform good deeds without malice. Although we can perform good deeds, our sin-tainted nature skews our moral compass to produce immoral outcomes—consistently.
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
We all sin, and as the Bible teaches, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) In addition, “good people” suffer from sin’s collateral damage (e.g., pain, fear, guilt, shame, depression, cognitive failure, doubt, and death).
It is as if Adam and Eve’s disobedience tilted our world forty-five degrees, and we have been sliding down its slippery slope since. Human kindness, technology, wealth, influence, and notoriety can be a productive means to an end, but they will not alter our downward trajectory. We can never escape God’s reckoning. Sin’s price is death, which means eternal separation from God, because He is holy, and His response to sin is judgment (wrath). Thus, we are “children of wrath,” who are sliding toward a fiery Hell where the worms never die, and the fire burns forever. (cf., Ephesians 2:3, Mark 9:48)
To resolve our sin and death dilemma, God became human in the person of Jesus Christ, and paid our sin debt and gave us eternal life,
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 (NLT)
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1:4 (NIV)
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)
Sin restricts our access to God, since only “perfect” people occupy His “perfect” world. Yet, it remains God’s desire for us to live with Him uncontaminated by sin. Thus, the Lord will create a new Heaven and new earth where His righteousness prevails. There, He will reestablish His perfect environment where we can know His loving fellowship, beauty, bounty, and perfection forever, where the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary will rest. For this fulfillment, His entire creation eagerly awaits. (cf. Job 3:17, Isaiah 65:17, Romans 8:19-23, 2 Peter 3:10-13, Revelation 21:1-4)
In the meantime, by our faith in Christ, we can have a taste of the full measure of our Lord’s eternal redemption through the Born Again experience. Here we acknowledge our sin and separation from God, and place our faith in Jesus Christ to redeem us and make us new creatures suitable for admission to His glorious Heaven forever.
As we trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, our subsequent spiritual transformation is unlike anything we could have ever know or experience in this life. Our lives grow more abundantly each day as His Spirit and His Word (Bible) reveal how we can know and love Him as our Blessed Redeemer and Merciful Savior.
We become His offspring, and like newborn babes, we yearn for more of His presence and a greater level of intimacy with Him. Christ in us is our ever-increasing hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Our “good” works, which were ”filthy rags” before coming to Christ, now follow us as we express our gratitude for God’s grace and mercy extended toward us. (cf., Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:10)
Jesus is our all and all, in whom we live, move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28) In Him, we can find true joy, peace, complete satisfaction, and eternal fulfillment. Won’t you give the Lord your heart today and experience “all things new?”
What a Wonderful Savior!
- Charles Hodge, “Man Created in the Image of God,” Systematic Theology, vol. II, 3rd printing, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003) 97.
- J.D. Douglas, Walter A. Ewell, and Peter Toon, “Fall, The,” The Concise Dictionary of the Christian Tradition: Doctrine, Liturgy, History, (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1989) 150, also see: William L. Reese, “Sin,” Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought, 8th ed., (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980) 530, and Cecil B. Murphey, “Sin and Virtue,” The Dictionary of Biblical Literacy, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989) 460-466.
- See: Merrill F. Unger, “Original Sin,” Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed., 18th printing, (Chicago: Moody, 1972) 1028.