Christians believe there’s more to life than this. As we’ve seen in this series, God created the world (and us) to live perfectly, relating to both Him and one another. We, however, rebelled against God, which meant He had to come as Jesus, take the punishment for our sin, thus paving the way for us to return to Him. The Church, which is made up of Jesus followers, share this Good News with others, while also waiting in anticipation for Jesus’ return, when He will finally set all things right.
What will that be like, when Jesus returns, and all things are put right again? That’s the purpose of this post: to think about the future, and what it is that Christians are waiting for and witnessing to.
The verses from the Bible which describe this are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful and hopeful verses you could read:
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21:1-4 NIVUK)
Certain aspects of this passage (and Revelation as a whole) are pictorial, and shouldn’t be taken literally. Other aspects, however, definitely are, and should be!! In this instance, it can be taken literally that God will one day come and “wipe every tear from [our] eyes, there will be no more death or mourning or crying for the old order of things has passed away”.
In other words, when Jesus returns, God will finally set the world right; something which was begun during Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Just as the Old Testament acted as a sign pointing to Jesus, so Jesus ministry points forward to the time when God will finally deal with the evils of this world. Those who put their faith in Jesus will also experience resurrection to this world: we will live with one another and with God in the way which He intended from the beginning.
This is the sure and certain hope of the Christian faith. The Bible makes many promises, most of which have been fulfilled so far. I therefore think it likely that this final promise will also be fulfilled.
What do Christians do in the meantime? I believe we are called to act as signs for the world which is to come. For example, if the New Creation is a place where tears are wiped away, then the Church should be a place where people experience comfort and support.
Our mission is to point forward to the New Creation. Obviously, what we experience now is but a pale shadow of what we will experience then, and anything we can do now, we only manage because of the grace of God. But we are still called to live out the reality of the New Creation in our world today; the hope being that some will come, experience this, and eventually believe for themselves that God has given each of us this wonderful hope for our future.