Reflecting on Truth #52





New City Catechism Question 51

Q: What hope does everlasting life hold for us?

A: It reminds us that this present fallen world is not all there is; soon we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new city, in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be fully and forever freed from all sin and will inhabit renewed, resurrection bodies in a renewed, restored creation.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

Why does this matter?

If we don’t know where we’re going, or what’s in store for us, or maybe even have wrong views on what’s in store for us, we won’t be very excited about the new creation, isn’t it? I used to think we’d be disembodied spirits floating in the clouds playing harps and singing songs for eternity. That didn’t seem very exciting to me. And naturally, if I’m not very excited about where I was going, I’m not going to live in light of that now. If I thought that once I’m gone from this earth, or once Jesus comes again, I’d miss out on all these experiences that I haven’t got to experience here on earth, then naturally, I’d spend my time and energy now serving myself, striving to cross off my bucket list of things I want to do and achieve.

But as Scripture teaches us and this catechism reminds us, this earth gives us a glimpse of the new creation. The new creation will be a new heaven and new earth. It will be physical and material, that we will have bodies - perfect restored bodies. It’s gonna be somewhat like what we have here, but infinitely better!

The good things from God that I already enjoy here on earth are going to be so much better there!
The bad things here that are a result of sin will be gone forever! No more sin and death and sickness and pain. What would that look like?

We will be done struggling with sin, and will perfectly obey God. We will dwell in His good presence and enjoy His blessings forever.

What a blessed hope.

What does this mean for us?

And we understand this gospel hope more and more, it should shape our hearts, and our affections, and our desires. We should be growing more excited about it, and more and more free from feeling like we have to spend our time and energy now, here on earth, trying to cross off a bucket list of places to go, and things to buy, and activities to experience, and earthly goals to achieve. Instead, we can be free to go and do what Christ has called us to here with our lives here on earth, making disciples of all nations. We can be free to go and love the saints self-sacrificially with whatever we have here on earth - our time, our effort, our possessions. Because we know that when the new creation comes, we didn’t miss out on anything.

Let this example encourage us.

Hebrews 10:32-34
“But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”

We have a better possession, an abiding one. Let us live in light of it.