All Things Made New
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The year departs, and with it, we’ve lost that which we always lose: people who are close to us, time, money, opportunities that came our way that we didn’t see as advantageous at the time.
The danger in losing these things is not to deny their loss, or our failures, but that we lose ourselves, for they’re what comprises our daily life here on earth. But doesn’t our Lord tell us not to have treasures here?
(Matthew 6:19-21) Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We are to save souls, and even there we sometimes fail by being afraid or uncertain, and again letting opportunities go, or setting bad examples, or just slipping up.
Guarding our hearts, minds, and tongues in these days is hard. People, like Martha, are concerned and passionate about many things which did, in fact, need to be done. But like Martha, we are reminded through our Lord that He is to take precedence in those things, and that Mary’s abandonment of preparation to sit at His feet was better.
(Luke 10:38-42) 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Our Lord’s rebuke of prioritizing earthly concerns rings through the ages:
Matthew 12: 39-42
39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
It’s fine to be excited for the New Year, a chance to start fresh, to do new things, or start over and try again. It’s a clean slate, a sloughing off of habits and people that held us back from doing all that we could, and from being the person He wants us to become.
But 12 months is a long time, and most people, myself included, have difficulty after that initial burst of enthusiasm and adrenaline.
The beautiful thing about having the covenant of our Lord is that through repentance, the kind that produces sorrow, we don’t need to wait for a solstice change or a spin of the earth to get that start. We are ever cleaned, refreshed, renewed, forgiven, and the ink of our names in the Book of Life gets a fresh coat, so to speak.
And through Him, if all things are possible with G-d, as He tells us, we need not turn to the calendar for steadfastness, for His works aren’t incomplete. That which we leave behind, we won’t turn back for. If you’ve been delivered, you’ll stay delivered.
Let us be mindful though, that for now, we are constrained by time and mortality, and our earthly works have an ending date. Don’t be found wanting. Doubt delays blessing, and fear is crippling.
If we are resolved to do anything for the year, if you seek the Lord and make your vow, keep it. We are told it is better not to vow to G-d, than to vow and break it.
Fear God, Keep Your Vows
5 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
Our hearts are to be where our treasure is: with the atoning work of salvation of our souls through Jesus.
Our priority is to sit still and listen, and know that He brings to us the words of our Father’s heart towards us.
Our vows to Him are to be as steadfast and faithful as His covenant of grace is to us.
Let us rejoice, in this New Year, that we are new creations, and that He will make all things new.
(2 Peter 3:13) 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Let it be to us as He has said.
Happy New Year