Heaven. The new creation. The next life. The Promised Land. Paradise.
How often do you think about it? This unseen, in many ways unknown location?
As often as you check the time? As often as you cook your dinner? As often as you turn the page on the calendar? Once in a blue moon? Never?
If I’m honest with you, I find it far easier to think about things I can see than the new heavens and the new earth. Or to imagine situations in familiar places with familiar people than try to contemplate the new creation.
And especially in these current days, each day seems to need so much more thought and concentration to navigate. What are we eating? How are we keeping the kids busy? How will we make today different from yesterday, and different from tomorrow?
There’s not much time to contemplate anything else.
Besides, Jesus even tells us not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). And while I’m clear of the virus, the odds are I won’t see the new creation today.
So why do I need to think about heaven?
Because time and again the apostles who wrote the New Testament remind us that the new creation should consume our focus.
Seeing Jesus face to face is the foundation of our hope. He’s our driving motivation. The future is not the only thing we think about, but it’s the lens that brings everything else into perspective and enables us to live wise Christian lives in the present.
I was reminded this week of Chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, which we enjoyed looking at in Sunday services before Christmas at St Andrew’s.
It pictures the whole creation groaning “as in the pains of childbirth”. (Romans 8:22). In other words, the world is going through a painful ordeal, but a delightful bundle of joy is on the way.
The whole world is certainly groaning now, showing just how contemporary these verses are.
And if that’s so, what is the bundle of joy Paul points us towards?
The new creation. Except, that’s not how he puts it.
“We wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:23-24).
In this hope we were saved. In other words, Christians are those saved by Jesus in order to daily hope – with certainty – for the new creation.
It’s not that we forget that Jesus is Lord or that we gloss over our need for his forgiveness. Rather, it’s that the thought of being with him must become our heartbeat.
Because when we are with him, our as status of children of God will be fully seen and fully felt. And our bodies will be redeemed. No longer able to sin. No longer groaning – due to isolation, or any virus. That is a place worthy of our consideration!
Hoping for the new creation will enable us to see these days – to see all our days – in the right perspective.
So, why not pray each day this week that your heavenly Father would help you hope for heaven? I know I need to.
With love in Christ,