In that cataclysmic, eschatological vision that the aged Apostle John received and later recorded, the Revelation, detailing what he saw when he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” John says, “And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” (Rev. 21:5). This just after John had seen “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth were passed away.” (Rev. 21:1)
Think of that! Yet future, after what is depicted as the 1,000-year future millennium, (Rev. 20:4) the earth as we know it today will have passed away (consumed by fire according to 2 Peter 3:10), and there will be, coming down from God out of heaven, a new heaven and a new earth! That can only thrill the hearts of those who take seriously the Word of God as the culmination and climax of history is unfolded in the apocalyptic Revelation given to us in the final 22 chapters in the Bible.
But a new heaven and new earth as we begin a New Year, are not the only things depicted in the New Testament that believers either now possess or yet will inherit:
- We have a New Life (2 Cor. 5:17): “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” God, at the moment of our conversion, gave us a new life in Christ. It is made possible by the new birth (John 3:3) and happens because we have received a new bath (the washing of regeneration, Titus 3:5) according to the new book, the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever (I Pet. 1:23). All things are become new! Gone the old longings, the old love, the old life!
- We now have a new Lord. We once were the servants of sin (Romans 6:20), but now being made free from sin we have come “servants to God.” (Romans 6:22). The first thing Paul said on meeting Jesus against whom Paul had been “kicking” was “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” He from that instant had a new Lord!
- We have a new liberty. Once we were entangled in the yoke of bondage of the law (Gal. 5:1), but now we can stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. “Free from the law, oh, happy condition,” the song that we joyfully sing says. Yes, not free of the law, for the law is “holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good” (Rom.7:12), but free from its bondage. The law did its work as a schoolmaster in bringing us to Christ (teaching us that we could not be saved by keeping the law try as we might!). Now, as sons, we are free from its bondage! Glory!
- We have now a new love. We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19), and we now love not only Him but His because His Holy Spirit indwells us, and He has given us a love for the brethren, and our Savior said that this is the badge whereby all men would know that we are His and this identifies us as one of His (John 13:35).
- We have, therefore, a new law, called by James, the Royal Law (James 2:8), so that we now love our neighbor as we love our self. Without prejudice or partiality, we accept that the “ground is level at the foot of the cross,” and, therefore, we love all men through Christ as equal in human dignity and as objects of His amazing grace.
- We also have a new loyalty. Once we were loyal to those who were special to us, family, friends and a few in our close-knit circle; now, laying aside those selfish ties we hear and heed His words that “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Our loyalty to Him, as Lord and Master, transcends any earthly tie; and in comparison, makes those former relationships dwarf to an utter selflessness that appears to be “hatred.”
- We have a new longing. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13) so that we echo unreservedly the Apostle’s last words uttered at the conclusion of his breath-taking Patmos vision, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20), and we realize now what Paul meant when he wrote “For our conversation is in Heaven from whence we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil.3:20)
- We have, would you believe, new lyrics! “He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 40:3) We literally sing a new song, like Moses, who, having come through the Red Sea, said, “I will sing gloriously….” (Exodus 15:1). Those grand themes of grace put to music by men like Wesley and Watts still thrill the souls of saints world-wide, world without end as we echo heavenly and angelic choirs singing “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever,” and “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor and glory and blessing.” (Rev. 5:12)
- We have now new loved ones as we enjoy being “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” (Eph 2:19) and, finally,
- We enjoy a new liberality. (2 Cor.8:2; 9:13 and I Cor. 16:3) Believers are known to give out of deep poverty gifts that “abounded unto the riches of their liberality,” in ways that have motivated others in a ministry that could only be described as “liberal distribution.” And it is all because we want to give thanks to God for His unspeakable gift. (2 Cor. 9:15)
“Another year is dawning! Dear Master, let it be, in working or in waiting, another year for Thee.” (Francis Ridley Havergal)