“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.” 1 Peter 4:7 Paul wrote in the thirteenth chapter of his letter to the Romans that…”The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Rom.13:11) Now, if that was true for first century believers how much more so for us who are well int the third millennium. Two thousand years have past since Paul gave this exhortation to vigilance in the light of Christ’s return, and we may be tempted to think that He will never come. Peter addresses this kind of mistaken thinking in his second epistle, explaining that the ‘delay’ in Jesus return has to do with God’s kindness and patience in bringing many people to salvation. (see 2 Peter chapter 3) So the exhortation remains relevant. We are to rouse ourselves from spiritual lethargy
Sam Storms: Where will believers in Jesus spend eternity? It won’t be on a cloud or a star in some distant galaxy. It will be on the sanctified and redeemed soil of the new earth. Here are ten things you should about what eternal life will be like in the new heaven and new earth. (1) According to Revelation 21:1 this present earth and the heavens above will “pass away” when Jesus Christ returns to destroy his enemies and consummate his kingdom. But this present earth does not give way to a purely spiritual existence somewhere in the clouds above. The “first heaven and the first earth” give way to a new heaven and a new earth. The relationship between the former and the latter is ambiguous. Will the new heaven and earth replace the old or simply be a renewal of what we now experience? Certainly there are elements of continuity, even as there are between our present, corruptible bodies and
T. D. Alexander: “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Eccl. 1:2)! So cries the author of Ecclesiastes as he attempts to make sense of this world “under the sun.” Looking around, it’s easy to conclude that life is absurd. We live in a world full of injustice. Evil people prosper; good people suffer. We live in a world terrorized by death. Life can be snuffed out unexpectedly. Death comes to everyone; no one escapes. We live in a world that throws the unexpected at us. Our inability to control our destiny adds to our sense of despair and hopelessness. For some in difficult circumstances, death can seem better than life itself. While Christians aren’t immune to feelings of despair and hopelessness, faith in Jesus Christ lessens the pain of pessimism and despair. Faith in the resurrected Son of God gives us confidence to trust that this life is but the prelude to something more wonderful. City
Jesus is the divine curse-remover and creation-renewer. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross broke the curse of sin and death brought on by Adam’s cosmic rebellion. His bodily resurrection from the dead three days later dealt death its final blow, guaranteeing the eventual renewal of all things ‘in Christ.’ The dimensions of Christ’s finished work are both individual and cosmic. They range from personal pardon for sin and individual forgiveness to the final resurrection of our bodies and the restoration of the whole world. Now that’s good news—gospel—isn’t it? If we place our trust in the finished work of Christ, sin’s curse will lose its grip on us individually and we will one day be given a renewed creation. The gospel isn’t only about reestablishing a two-way relationship between God and us; it also restores a three-way relationship among God, his people, and the created order. Through Christ’s work, our relationship with God is restored while creation itself is renewed.
John Bloom: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26) A few days ago we laid the body of my wife’s grandfather in the ground outside the little brick church in the cornfields where he attended all 97 years of his life. I was given the profound honor of preaching at his funeral. And the words of John 11:25–26 were my text. I chose them because Jesus said them to Martha when Lazarus lay dead in his tomb. And I was to stand behind the old pulpit in front of a full casket. A corpse is a fierce reality. It demands that we explain these claims of Jesus — perhaps the most incredible ever spoken by a credible human being in all of history. What does Jesus mean that he is “the resurrection and the life”?
Kevin DeYoung: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10) The great multitude is a host of overcomers. They’ve done it. They triumphed. They finished the race. They faced hunger and thirst and heat and tears (v. 16), but they did not curse God. They did not bail. They did not compromise. They held fast to word of God and the testimony of Jesus. They proved to be more than conquerors through him who loved us. They also prove to be a colorful bunch. This is not a vanilla multitude. When we get to heaven we will be pleased to find a vast
Mike Williams, Professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Seminary and author of the wonderful and needed book Far as the Curse Is Found: “Many of our students come to us having been carefully nurtured and discipled in the biblical story and have already begun to lay hold of the breadth of it. Many others, however, come only with the story of the larger culture or that of popular Christian culture or with stories that invite them to see the Christian faith as being about and relevant to only their private lives—a spiritual existence that is always to be distinguished from the life of the body, the material world, and the work-a-day world of human social existence. Students are often more than a bit surprised to hear an understanding of the gospel and the Christian life that embraces the entirety of their lives, indeed, the whole of God’s creation. Putting the issue in the most explicit terms, the scope of God’s redemption
Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and when he died he purchased peace. This excerpt starts at the 25:28 mark of this week’s sermon by John Piper.
Jesus Christ is both the missionary God and the human representative who fulfilled the mission for which we were created. The whole story of the Bible turns on the merciful determination of this Triune God to redeem and to restore sinful creatures and the creation that lies in bondage because of the curse. In spite of every failure, disloyalty, and unfaithfulness of the human partner in the covenant, God will complete his mission. And in the person of Christ, he has also fulfilled the mission that he assigned to humankind in Adam: to lead creation into the everlasting blessing of immortality, forgiveness, righteousness, andpeace. — Michael Horton The Gospel Commission (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2011), 26 (HT: Of First Importance)
I love this from Kevin DeYoung: Both Ephesians 1:10 and Colossians 1:20 speak of God’s work to unite all things, or reconcile all things, in Christ. And both epistles link this final work of cosmic restoration to the “blood of his cross.” In other words, the re-creation of all things is made possible by the atoning work of Christ. But how? What does the blood have to do with the uniting of all things? Consider the logic of the gospel. It’s because Jesus’ death on the cross was a means of expiating our sin and propitiating the wrath of God that we can be adopted into God’s family and have fellowship with him. And it’s because sin has been conquered that Christ can be appointed head over all things and the devil, a liar and an accuser, can have no hold over us. And because sin and the devil have been vanquished death has no sting. And because sin, death, and the
From Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4:720 “Just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, as carbon is converted into diamond, as the grain of wheat upon dying in the ground produces other grains of wheat, as all of nature revives in the spring and dresses up in celebrative clothing, as the believing community is formed out of Adam’s fallen race, as the resurrection body is raised from the body that is dead and buried in the earth, so too, by the re-creating power of Christ, the new heaven and the new earth will one day emerge from the fire-purged elements of this world, radiant in enduring glory and forever set free from the ‘bondage to decay.’” (HT: Tony Reinke)
From Tony Reinke: Graham A. Cole, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2009), 229-230: The God of the Bible is the righteous God of holy love. The trouble is, however, that we have become paradoxically the glory and garbage of the universe. Our great need is peace with God, and not just with God but also with one another. … There is no shalom, however, without sacrifice. Peace is made through the blood of the cross. The atoning life, death and vindication of the faithful Son bring shalom by addressing the problem of sin, death the devil and wrath definitively. Sacrifice, satisfaction, substitution and victory are key terms for understanding God’s atoning project in general and the cross in particular. Eschatologically speaking, the realization of the triune God’s reconciling project will see God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule living God’s way enjoying shalom in God’s holy and loving presence to God’s glory. … The broad
Tullian Tchividjian writes in his book Unfashionable: Jesus is the divine curse-remover and creation-renewer. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross broke the curse of sin and death brought on by Adam’s cosmic rebellion. His bodily resurrection from the dead three days later dealt death its final blow, guaranteeing the eventual renewal of all things “in Christ.” Of course none of this is available for those who remain disconnected from Jesus. Sin’s acidic curse remains on everything that continues to be separated from Christ. We must be united to Christ by placing our trust in his finished work in order to receive and experience all the newness God has promised. For, as John Calvin said, “As long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.” But for all that is united to Christ, everything false, bad,
I’m off to Uganda in a few days for two weeks teaching ministry. This is the book I’m taking with me. Here’s a great quote from it: “Our renewal is tied to the eschatological renewal of the creation. We cannot separate our present spiritual regeneration from cosmic regeneration because our present restoration to life is the first stage in the eschatological restoration of all creation to its proper vitality and relationship to God. We are the firstfruits. The goal of redemption is nothing less the restoration of the entire cosmos. The scope of redemption is truly cosmic. Through Christ, God determined ‘to reconcile to himself all things’ (Col 1:20). Matthew 19:28 speaks of the renewal (the word is ‘regeneration’) of all things. Acts 3:21 also indicates a cosmic regeneration when it says that Jesus must remain in heaven ‘until the time comes for God to restore everything.’ Why must God regenerate, give new life and direction to, all things? Because