It’s customary as we embark on a new year to look back at the previous year. This healthy process helps us evaluate who we have been and what we want to do in light of our goals. Sometimes there are encouraging points that need to be continued, other times, unflattering reminders that our habits are not helping us hit our mark.
As I look at the first of January on my calendar I am not only looking back, but also ahead. I’m thinking about my life now in view of the new heavens and the new earth. Isaiah lifts the returned exiles chins to see the horizon of a new day when he writes, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
Looking ahead toward heaven can be a clarifying exercise. A couple personal responses come to mind.
The next verse (Isaiah 65:18) commands believers to rejoice in this truth. We should (and must) be joyful and glad in the fact that God is going to make all things new. In the midst of the headlines in the news that shake us to the core, this vista bids us to rejoice. Through personal trials and difficulties, this truth fills us with joy—we are going to heaven! Five seconds into glory we will look around, and all of the chains of this fallen world will be removed! Scandal, terrorism, cancer, death, disappointment? What’s that? O dear Christian, rejoice, for you have your passport stamped with the King’s seal. You are going home.
Think with me why we need a new creation in the first place. Because of our sin, the commonwealth has been trashed. There is graffiti of self-righteousness on every wall in God’s creation. There are monuments to self on every corner. This world is cursed because sin and sinners inhabit it. Like a cup of water with a drop of poison in it we not only need new water but also a new cup before its suitable. God must remake what we have undone. He will make a world where righteousness dwells.
So what type of person might you and I be in light of this? Peter tells us we are to live in a holy way as we wait (2 Pet. 3:11-14). This seems pretty logical. If God so consumed with hatred for sin and love for holiness that he would purge the world of sin and make a new creation, then we must likewise scour my life for sin and live in holiness.
My Christian friend, as you consider your life in view of the end, how do you feel about sin? Do you hate it? Do you accommodate it? Do you practice it? Do you enjoy it? These are not marks of one who is a part of the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; James 1:18) but the old (Eph. 2:1-3). We should be a people marked by holiness. And holiness reflects God’s hatred of sin so much that we endeavor to remove it from our lives. Our lives as Christians should be a continual scouring for and purging of sin.
When we look at our life in light of the end we have to make some course adjustments—some of us more than others, but certainly all of us. As you flip the calendar to January 1, look ahead to the end and find yourself compelled to rejoice and remove. These are resolutions not only for a new year but also a new creation.