All Things New
One of the most incredible passages of Scripture, and one to which I return often, is Revelation 21. It is the story of the consummation of redemption history, of the bride of Christ descending from heaven – walking down the aisle, as it were – for her marriage to the “Lamb who was slain.” The imagery is rich and profound, bursting with anticipation of the new creation, of the world made right, and of the end of the tyrannical reign of sin and death.
In verse 6, the unseen God shouts from his glorious throne, “Behold! I am making all things new!” A proclamation. A promise. God is making all things new. The mountains and rivers will be made new. Not different mountains and rivers; the same, but renewed. Purified. Cleansed.
The same is true for us. There will not be different people; there will be the same people, but we will be renewed, purified, cleansed, redeemed, comforted. This is what awaits us in Christ. But you don’t have to wait for it to happen all at once in heaven. This is what God is up to right now. God is making a new you, and he is doing it through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit today.
Your true self is determined by Christ, and in Christ there is no sin.
What this means for us is that we can look at all of our sin – our cowardice, our rage, our lies, our lust – and say, “That’s not me. Take it, God.” It means that we don’t have to justify ourselves, our choices, or our sins. We can say, “God, I’m sorry. That’s not who I really am in you. That’s not compatible with what you’re doing in my life. That’s not who you are remaking me to be. I repent. Please forgive me.” And God is faithful to forgive all of our sins.
The fullness of our true selves lies before us, to be fully unveiled as we descend from heaven together as one bride, made gloriously new for Christ Jesus. But our true selves are also being slowly uncovered, haltingly realized today through the tedious, sometimes painful, work of the Holy Spirit. “You are not your sin,” he whispers. None of it will last. Because of what Jesus has done, none of it can cling to you forever. So let go. Let God take it. Be forgiven. Be made new.