Saturday, July 29, 2017

New Stuff

29 July 2017

My mom has a unique way of reading books. She begins at the end-she reads the ending first. If she likes the ending she'll read the rest of the book; if not she won't. I used to tease her about it but these days I'm just pleased she's still reading so I don't say anything. I'm pretty sure she never read the bible that way, but I she may have. She certainly could. Might not be a bad idea for us once in a while either. 

The Bible is bookended with creation stories. The first two chapters speak of God's original creation; the last two God's re-creation. The first two describe the original, perfect environment for humankind; the last two God's perfect recreation for restored humankind. As believers we know how the story ends. It's a good ending, a perfect ending, an eternal ending and we would all do well to spend some time meditating on what God has prepared for those who love Him. Let's take a look. 

The first thing is a new heaven and a new earth. Everything is new, fully restored. Most commentators focus on the New Jerusalem but my sense is, with a new earth (and no more sea) there will be plenty of room for billions of us to live and work and grow stuff and still have space. When the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven the first thing we hear is “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people" (Revelation 21:3). This is important. God fully intends to live among us here and be our God. This was the plan from the beginning and it will be fulfilled. God, who already loves us to death (pun intended) longs to spend eternity hanging out with us, being our God, doing God stuff with us and for us. And giving us life, all the life we can handle. Life inexhaustible supplied by God Himself. The best part about all this is its already started. God is our God right now. He lives with us right now. He gives us His life right now. 

He says "I am making all things new" and "It is done". There is no doubt. Take it to the bank. All things. Not just earth, the planet, the physical environment. The whole system. No more death. No pain. No crying. The old order of things has passed away. Authority will no longer come from the imposition of will. Humanity will no longer be divided into the haves and have nots. No more exploitation, no more marginalization. All you guys out there that rail against socialism are gonna be in trouble. And disappointed. Think about this for a minute. Let it sink in because this is how things were meant to be. It's what Jesus Himself taught and what Paul, Peter, James and John reinforced. Both Testaments are saturated with this teaching. My point here is not so much what you have ( or don't have) but what you're attached to-where your heart lies. What we do in this life matters. The slate may be wiped clean but there will be consequences-God is not mocked. We are sowing now and the reaping will come. 

While we're on the subject vs.8 gives us a list of those who 'don't make it in' and why. We like to turn that into a hit list or a punishment list or an 'I'm holier than you because I don't do that stuff' list-a judging, Bible-thumping, guilt producing list but that's not what it is. These people are not kept out and sent to the second death because of what they do. They are already dead, because they have judged and rejected God. This is an important point and worth spending some time thinking about. Christians today love to make the unpardonable sin some behavioral thing but it is not. It is, judging and rejecting God to the point that one is simply not capable of accepting Him even while standing in His presence. It is not just refusing to acknowledge Him as God but refusing even to allow Him to love you and then hating Him more because He lets you do it. 
So, here's  what we have so far. All things will be made new, heaven and earth. The old socio-economic structures will be replaced. We will be fully restored by God; He will continually give us life and will Himself live here with us. Those who are miserable without Him now will be allowed to remain miserable without Him for eternity. Stay tuned. There's more. 


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