Everything new – September 8, 2019
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
A past best-seller carries the title, All Quiet on the Western Front. It tells of a group of young German Soldiers at the start of WWI. The English title gives the impression that this was a time of safety, maybe relaxation. It was not.
The German title uses the words for, “Nothing New” instead of “All Quiet.” It better fits the story of the seemingly never-ending terror and carnage these young troops endured. For them, day after day brought nothing new. The bayonet attacks, the stench, the rats in the trenches, and the killing continued on. It would do so for four more years.
The word, “new,” resonates with us. That’s why advertisers use the word. It fits well into the phrase, “new and improved.” We expect what is new will always be better than what is old. This is especially true if the old is worn out or faulty. It can be true of a set of clothes, or a computer—or life in general.
We live in a world that idolizes what is new. Sometimes new replaces old at such speed that it almost makes us dizzy. Yet, with all the changes, we learn that improved is not necessarily tied to new. Sometimes it seems, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
The reason for this is that all change is incidental, not essential, unless God makes the change.
His creation of the world—that was an essential change of nothing into something. His curse upon the world after the fall of humans into sin—that surely made an essential difference.
All of our attempts to improve the world affect only the externals. We can counter some diseases; we can improve communications; and we can eliminate some of the threats to our nation. But we cannot change the world into a safe haven for all its inhabitants.
Something basic must first happen. And it must first happen in us if we are going to be part of the change.
We think of the time when God wiped the planet clean with a flood. We might imagine that Noah stepped out of the ark into a brand-new world. It wasn’t.
Weeds sprang up again, mosquitoes bit again, and humans resumed lives of depravity. Fear did not disappear, nor did theft, neither did war.
It was the same old world with the same old problems because it was contaminated by the same old sin—and under the same old curse. A drastic, essential change needed to take place.
That change happened on the day we call Good Friday.
The death of the Son of God sparked new life for the human race. The curse was removed because the sin was removed. That’s an essential change.
The sin of humans was replaced by the holiness of God. New life was given. News of this was to be shared with the whole world.
When the apostle Peter was arrested for doing this, an angel broke him out of jail and said: “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people all about this new life” (Acts 5:20).
Now we have been told. This new life is ours. True, we still live in this old world, but that’s going to change too. We hear Jesus say from heaven, “I’m going to make everything new.”
Hard to imagine what that will be like, isn’t it?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you broke the curse of sin so that we might have a new life with you. Help us now as we still struggle with sin and its consequences. Keep pointing us to the time and place when and where everything will be new. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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