‘He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”‘ – Revelation 21.5By Martin Hayward
I won’t wish you “a Happy New Year” since I’ve never understood why people think our circumstances might change just because we turn the page on a calendar. I do get it, though, that this season was more poignant than usual; we’ve all had such a horrid 2020 that everyone is united in hoping for something better to come.
The disciple John must have felt just like that 2,000 years ago as he was sat in exile on the Greek island of Patmos where he’d been sent by anti-Christian persecutors. And so God encouraged him – and us – with a vision of the future so glorious that it makes all our present troubles fade into insignificance. John wrote it all down in the Book of Revelation which contains promises from God about four different ways he’s going to make things new.
- Firstly, God is going to make us spiritually and morally new. Perhaps the most frustrating part of being a Christian here on earth is that we want to be holy but always fall short of the holiness we long for. But God promises (Rev 21;11) that when we, the members of Jesus’ church, are finally prepared like a bride to meet the groom, we are going to be purified so deeply that we will each be like a rare jewel – so clear that people will be able to see straight through us towards Jesus and see Him without distortion or shadow.
- And then God promises that our bodies will be made new. Sure, we’ll still live in bodies, but they won’t decay or suffer death or pain… and there’ll be no need for tears. (Rev 21;4) Those who trust in Him will still be recognisable, but in bodies re-made so that we can say goodbye to pain and disability and tears of hurt for ever.
- The promises continue: (Rev 21;1) John is shown a picture where there is “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away”. God makes us spiritually and morally new, he gives us new and perfect bodies and now he renews our environment to be fit for the life of our perfected spirits and bodies.
- But there’s still one last promise – the best of all: our relationship with God will be new and glorious. John heard a voice that said: (Rev 21; 3). “Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
Nothing new may happen as we turn the calendar – but at the end of the age we are promised spiritual renewal, new bodies, a rejuvenated world to live in and a forever relationship with God. Forget the calendar; we have God’s solid promises in which we can rejoice: Happy ever after!