Behold, I Am Making All things New

Behold, I Am Making All things New

by Pastor Kurt Ebert on January 01, 2024

“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. 2 And I 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 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. 4 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.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5a).

How are those New Year’s resolutions looking for you?

I don’t know if I can make any new commitments until I’ve actually ‘resolved’ some of the problems that I have with the old commitments that I’ve already made. Consider this. How many unfinished projects, tasks, or to-do lists do you have sitting around your house? How many counter tops and tabletops are covered with things that we set down because we were going to get to it later? How many things are in our garages and our closets and our junk drawer  waiting for us to “finally get the time” to get it wrapped up? Those holiday gatherings certainly are great for getting those half-finished projects shoved off the living room table and put away from the kitchen counter, but how many of those projects actually got “done” or were they just hidden in a much less easily seen location in your home?

Half-finished projects. Half-accomplished lists. Half-hearted attempts. How do we begin ‘anew’ when we haven’t resolved conflicts of old? Martin Luther loves to instruct us in the catechism that each day we are to remember that in our baptism “the Old sinful self in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” The problem is that #1 the old Adam, our old sinful self, is a really good swimmer #2 our ‘attempts’ at drowning him are again an often half-finished, half- earted attempt…a project that we were going to get around to completing later. And yet when we turn to the words of Revelation 21, we come to see a vision of hope, a glimpse of our future, and a promise that all things shall come to a completion. Revelation 21 promises that Jesus is coming to us. Breaking in of the new creation. Despite all our so-called preparing for Christmas, it is Christ himself who has done all the preparing and all the accomplishing to bring us into his promises, his peace, and finally into his eternal joys of the new creation.

In the end when Christ shall come again not only will the old get resolved, but it will be resurrected, restored, and renewed into the new. As the Christmas hymn, “Now We Sing, Now Rejoice” says, “Come from on high to me, I cannot rise to thee…” God has given us a ‘fresh’ covenant, not necessarily a new one. He has fulfilled his promises to Israel, but He has expanded them beyond their wildest imaginations. The gift of Christmas is that God has given us grace upon grace (John 1:17). Jesus is the gift that keeps  on giving all year long. And that is far better than any jelly of the month club.
But now as the New Year begins, so now the work of Christmas begins. Christ comes to work the “newness” of the kingdom into our lives. The promises brought by the Christ child has the chance to now grow and take root in our lives.

We stand here on the edge of the old and the new, so let us rejoice that our Lord Jesus is the one who has resolved the old and brought us into the new. He is the one who has begun a good work in us and the one who will bring it to completion in the day of his triumphant return. As we mark this changing of the calendar, we again confess that whenever he may come, let us be ready to sing his praises and to bow our knee for his is our light, our life, and our salvation. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

May our God continue to work in you all things new, as we daily repent of the old sinful parts of our life,
and joyously receive from our Lord the blessings of the righteousness that comes from Christ alone.

God’s Peace, Pastor Kurt Ebert