(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
We are considering Revelation 21:3 through 5 where God has shown the Apostle John a vision of “…a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1). We have seen in the last Gem why the Lord is going to make a new heaven and earth. But this is not the only new creation God is making or has already made! It might be of value to review the last Gem where it is explained why He has created a new godly nature, called the new man in Ephesians 4:24.
In II Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” But there are several new things that lead up to or flow out of this new creation!
- The old naturally-born person is infected by a sin nature! As it is written in Isaiah 64:6, “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (see also Isaiah 59:2). “…our rigthteousnesses…” are the very best we can do in our own strength! ‘Fithy rags righteousnesses’ are unacceptable before our holy God! What, then, is acceptable before Him?
✞ God’s standard is shown in Matthew 5:48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” No human being can achieve such perfec- tion... ✞ ...except One! That One is He who, being God, also became a human being! Jesus’ righteousness is per- fect! ✞ Having taken our sins (our filthy rags) upon Himself and fully paying for them by dying in our place, He now offers us His perfection as a clean white robe for us to wear forevermore! This exchange is beauti- fully shown in II Corinthians 5:21 – “For He [the Father] made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
- To accomplish this new creation the LORD gives the repentant sinner a new heart and spirit! Here is what is written in Ezekiel 36:25 and 26 (see also Ezekiel 11:19):
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Jesus referred to this in John 3:3 and 5 as being born again! (see also I Peter 1:23).
✡ In ancient Hebrew thinking, the heart was much more than the organ that pumps blood through the body. Here is how the jewishencyclopedia.com explains the Biblical concept: The seat of the emotional and intellectual life. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23), re- fers to the moral and spiritual as well as the physical life....The three special functions, knowing, feeling, and willing, ascribed by mo- dern psychologists to the mind, were attributed to the heart by the Biblical writers....The heart [is]...the seat of thought [,]...the seat of emotion [and]...also the seat of volition. It is self-directing and self-determining. ✡ The heart of stone is a heart hardened to the spir- itual things of God. The heart of flesh is a heart tender and open to the things of the Lord.
So having “…a new heart and…a new spirit within you…” (Ezekiel 36:26), what other new things should appear?
- A new way of thinking! Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate [think] on these things.
- A new way of talking and acting! Here is what the apostle said in Ephesians 4:29 through 32:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
- A new radiance! Now what can this mean? Consider Phlippians 2:14 and 15
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, child- ren of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.... We all shine as lights in the world in one way or another! For Jesus said in Matthew 6:22 and 23: The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! God forbid that we shine darkly! I wrote a Gem on April 17, 2013 called Black Light Christians. In it I explain more fully this concept of our radiance.
- A new song! Psalm 40:1 through 4 is a good example (see also Psalms 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10; and Revelation 5:9):
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth — praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust....
- New friends! When I became a Christian at age 19, I stopped associating with several of my old friends and acquired new friends. You see, with my former friends, we got into a lot of trouble – drinking, stealing, lying, fighting, taking advantage of others, etc. And so a warning in…
✞ ...I Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” ✞ ...I Peter 4:4 (Easy-to-Read Version) – “Now those ‘friends’ think it is strange that you no longer join them in all the wild and wasteful things they do. And so they say bad things about you.”
These are just a few of the new things that God creates in and through us! But a word of caution: We will manifest this “…new and living way…” (Hebrews 10:20) only as we allow Him to do His work in our lives! For we can resist Him, and fight Him, and push Him away…and He permits us to oppose His will if we so choose! Remember, we have a new godly nature, but we also have our old sinful nature, and the old battles against the new! We will look at this further in the next Gem.