March 29, 2020. Day 89: New heavens and a new earth.

Isaiah 65:17. For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,

Are you excited about going to heaven? Escaping this earth forever? Getting out of here?

What if I told you that our eternal destiny in Christ does not lie in “going to heaven?” It’s actually much better than what you might imagine or what the movies have shown you.

God’s plan for our future is not to take us to heaven, but for “heaven” to come to us. His plan is a new heavens and a new earth. Do you remember Genesis 1:1? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The sky and the land. The physical creation. And Isaiah tells us that God is going to do it again. It’s called the New Creation.

Moana and the new creation.

But the New Creation isn’t a “do over.” It’s a resurrection. Jesus is the “first-fruits” of the resurrection. This means that what happened to Jesus will happen to all who are in Christ, and then ultimately to all of creation. So was Christ destroyed and re-created? Of course not. He died and was resurrected, not as a completely different creation, but as a “new creation” in the sense that his body was glorified. The body that Jesus has right now is his same body, just way better. Same holes in his hands and side, yet able to pass through time and space. His old body was not tossed away, it was renewed.

And that is the destiny of all things. Christ will renew, restore, and redeem the old. Not toss it out. Jesus will not destroy us or this earth with fire. Rather he will refine all things with fire. Jesus himself called it the “renewal of all things” (Matt. 19:28-29). Jesus is preparing a place for us, but that place will come down from heaven to the new earth (Read Rev. 21).

You see God is just as concerned with our physical being as he is our spiritual being. His plan is not to destroy the physical and turn us all into harp playing angels floating around in a dis-embodied state in heaven forever. His plan is for us to live forever in “spiritual bodies” that are glorified and yet physical, just like Jesus’ resurrected body, forever worshiping him with all of our heart, mind, and physical strength.

Understanding our full destiny in Christ as body, soul, and spirit is so important for finding real meaning and hope. Everything we do today has eternal significance. Every physical decision has an eternal spiritual impact. Everything we do is important. Nothing is wasted by God. Each physical need met reveals a deeper spiritual need and leads someone into the presence of God through your physical presence.

If nothing is wasted by Jesus, and everything is returned to you and much, much more, then all “health and wealth,” all selfish pleasure, can be sacrificed today for Christ’s kingdom. You can stop clutching to the things of this life and live in the freedom of abandonment. No regrets. No bucket lists. No fear of dying without seeing the ocean, or the Himalayas, or the northern lights? No fear of a wasted life or unfulfilled dreams. You’ve got eternity. When you die, your life has barely just begun.

Knowing this should change how we see all of life, and how we live all of life. We are promised that everything we give up in this physical realm for Jesus will be restored by him on a new earth. When we live sacrificially in this life, rejecting physical sin and temptation, we can know that, through the resurrection, Jesus will restore even that physical joy and pleasure to us in his presence (Psalm 16).

How do we find the strength to live the sacrificial lives Christ calls us to today in the midst of the unknown? We find it in his resurrection power. The resurrection, the New Creation, the renewal of all things is a future event. But in Christ it has already come to us. We are time travelers. We are living in our future today. This is your super power: you know your future and you are already there!

“To live is Christ” means you can live fearlessly. You can love recklessly. You can give all of yourself away today. Knowing that all the earth is yours in Christ and all will be restored in his presence.

You

Are you living with regrets? The fear of a wasted life?

You in Christ

In Christ your physical life and your spiritual life have meaning. How does this give your life new purpose today?

Christ in you

How can knowing your future is secure allow you to live and love sacrificially today?

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