(to the left) comes toward the end of the biblical message when God
describes to us what our ultimate position will be if we live as God
has called us to live. Notice how many times the word “new” is used in
this section of the Bible. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, … I saw the
Holy City, the new Jerusalem …” (Revelation
– 2, NIV). This ultimate newness is the last of a large number
of biblical references to things God brings to mankind as new and
beneficial to us. All of this newness is in the face of a creation that
is wearing “out like a garment” (see Hebrews 1:11;
Isaiah 34:4), and is in conformity to the second law of
thermodynamics which states that in any closed system things move
toward a state of disorder.
Human religions and philosophies tend to bring people to a belief that
is destructive, pessimistic, and negative in nature, while the
Christian system continuously brings man a perspective that is
positive, new, and uplifting.
The Bible on my desk has the following title at the start of the second
section: “The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” One
of the major problems of atheists and
general readers of the Bible is that they do not understand the
“newness” of the New Testament. God did a remarkable thing in the
establishment of the “New Covenant” with man. It was a very difficult
transition for the people of the first century to make. Throughout the
letters of the New Testament we see repeated references to this
problem. The whole book of Galatians deals with this, and Paul
continuously expresses amazement at how quickly the Galatians veered
away from the new freedom of Christianity and went back to the
impossible enslavement of the law of the past (see Galatians 1:6;
3:1– 4, 11–14; 6:15). In Colossians
2:8 –17 Paul makes additional references to this issue and tells
his readers that Jesus nailed the old ordinances to His cross.
A further problem for the first century searchers was the unity and
lack of status emphasized by the teachings of the Christian system.
This causes Paul to say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are
all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians
3:28, KJV). The newness of the New Testament was shocking and
difficult to accept, but any thinking person can see the uniqueness and
positive effect on those who will follow it. What a tragedy it is that
in the first century and even today there are those who would revert to
old and destructive practices that may have served a purpose in the
primitive society of 3,000 or more years ago, but clearly need
replacement in the age of modern man.
Ephesians 5:31 we see that God’s initial concept of marriage was
that two people, a man and a woman, would become one flesh. In Matthew
19:4 – 6 Jesus confirms
that new relationship again in the framework of God having designed the
newness that man should not pollute (separate, alter, or adulterate).
Marriage is a huge adjustment in one’s life, but the bottom line is
that this adjustment is due to the newness of the relationship. Sharing
every aspect of your life is a new experience. It is a radical idea for
a man to love a woman as himself (Ephesians 5:28)
himself for her, but this is part of the new
relationship marriage brings.
Corinthians 7:4 brings us to another concept of the newness of the
marriage relationship in that men and women relinquish control of their
own body in sexual relationships. Marriage is all about newness, and
working to retain that newness is a challenge that can only be met when
both partners are following God’s plan for how they should conduct
themselves in the new relationship they share.
I can still remember the incredible joy I felt as I came out of the
waters of baptism with the realization I was beginning a new life. I
had lived a destructive life up until that time as an immoral,
militant, atheistic user and abuser of others. I had reaped the
consequences of that lifestyle and had even been driven to the point of
being willing to consider suicide. Second
Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) made it clear that if I became a Christian I
was “a new creature: old things are passed away; … all things are
become new.” Colossians
10 (KJV) tells us we “put off the old man with his deeds; and
have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image
of him that created him.” I knew that when people asked about the
conversion process they were told, “Repent, and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you,
and to your children, and to all who are afar off, …” (Acts
2:38, 39, KJV). I not only could begin a new life with all of the
past left behind, but God would help me to live in a new way.
People “raised in the Church” may not appreciate the promise and scope
of baptism as much as those of us who have been totally alienated from
God. One of the joys of prison work is to see a man or woman whose life
has been pregnant with sin go under the waters of baptism and emerge a
new creature. Romans 6:3 – 7 expresses
this beautiful new beginning
this way, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into
Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried
with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a
new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we
will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know
that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might
be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because
anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (NIV).
21:5 — “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything
new!’” This is preceded in verse 1 with John’s statement that he “saw a
new heaven and a new earth … ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and
he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will
be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old
order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1– 4, NIV).
impossible for us living in the physical world to comprehend heaven.
All we can really comprehend is that it will be new, wonderful,
eternal, and free of everything that is bad in the present world. In
His wisdom, God has provided some beautiful new beginnings in life and
man can rejoice in that fact. Each day we awake to a new beginning of
what can be a wonderful start of new work and new blessings. We can
start a new year with new resolutions and a clean, new calendar. If we
will obey God and access the blessings He offers, we can leave our old
lives of sin behind and walk in newness of life. At the end of that
walk we will enter eternal newness “… which the Lord, the righteous
Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to
all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV).
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Does God Exist?, MarApr11.