The beginning of a new year is traditionally when we rethink our goals and reassess how we have been doing. Are we growing like we ought? Are we learning, reading, praying, and serving like we ought? Of course, questions like these should be asked all year long. We don’t need to wait for a new year to start new habits or make new resolutions. 

The idea of being “new” is biblical. When we become Christians, we become new creatures: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17-18). Being restored back to God makes us new, and this is refreshing when we consider how tainted our lives can become by sin. We need healing, restoration, and renewal. In Christ we have it. 

Yet now we do not experience the total newness as we one day will. We are new creatures in Christ through forgiveness, but God intends to make all things new one day. This coincides with judgment, as Peter says (2 Pet 3:11-13): 

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 

The “new heavens and new earth” are promised (which is, I believe, heaven and paradise since it is still God’s dwelling). When John describes the victory at the end of the ages, we read about this in Revelation 21:1-5: 

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”

God promises to make all things new, complete with a “new heaven and new earth” wherein the dwelling of God is with man. The “former things” will have passed away, tears wiped from the eyes of His people, and the pain gone. All things will be made new. 

There ought to be great encouragement in this. We can indeed find encouragement and comfort in the teachings that are associated with the Second Coming of Christ. After speaking of this matter, Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess 4:18). These thoughts also point us to the kinds of lives we should be living for Him while we await His return. Peter wrote, “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation…” (2 Pet 3:14-15). 

Paul also wrote that grace teaches the child of God “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14)

We are to be people of good works, pointing others to Him (1 Pet 2:12), and these are to be done as we wait for the coming of our Lord. Being His people now reflects upon the hope that we have in Him at His coming. This is why the message of repentance is also important as it touches upon the final judgment: 

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

The proof of final judgment (when Christ comes again to make all things new) is that He was raised from the dead. He ever lives to make intercession for His people (Heb 7:25), but we are not yet in the final state. All things will be made new. Because of this hope, we invite all to the feast of our Lord: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev 22:17). 

Doy Moyer