ArticlesPoetry May 23, 2015 New or Refurbished
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author,

When it comes to our re­demp­tion, God doesn’t scrap us and make new hu­man be­ings. In­stead, He makes old hu­man be­ings new. All we can do in this world is re­fur­bish. God makes old things new.

Noth­ing Is New

We live in a world where “new” things are be­ing made all the time [al­though Solomon would say oth­er­wise Ec­cle­si­astes 1:9]. But we know bet­ter than Solomon right? Af­ter all, the lat­est iphone is real­ly real­ly new. But I’m get­ting side­tracked. Hav­ing all these “new” things con­fronts us with a prob­lem: What do you do with all the stuff that used to be “new”, still works but isn’t “new” any­more? Well you can throw it away or you can give it away? When you throw it away, we call it trash but when you give it away, we call it used or re­fur­bished.

Re­fur­bished is kind of a strange word. It ba­si­cal­ly means that some­thing still does what it’s sup­posed to but is not new and so less de­sir­able? This sounds a lit­tle mad. Why should we need such a word? Well, that’s a longer an­swer than we have time for. In any case, in this world, as soon as some­thing is made, ex­pe­ri­enced, seen for the first time it is no longer new. As soon as a car is dri­ven off the lot it “los­es val­ue”. It can be like new, bare­ly used, re­fur­bished, bare­ly rolling and so on. The point is it is no longer new.

Con­sid­er though that even our “new” things, were made from old things. The met­al in your phone has been around for hun­dreds of thou­sands of years. It is high­ly, high­ly de­bat­able that any­thing at all is new. Feel free to do so but I’m not ar­gu­ing with Solomon. But then comes Je­sus Christ, the Wis­dom of God, ex­pound­ing on the wis­dom of Solomon in Rev­e­la­tions 21:1-5.

New Things

Okay okay, He’s talk­ing about heav­en. This is the whole point right. The world is mis­er­able and full of suf­fer­ing. We are all ea­ger for some­thing bet­ter than this death and de­struc­tion and joy that sur­rounds us every day. So it is a re­lief that there is a new heav­en and a new earth. It is a re­lief that there is a new Jerusalem which, as the verse lat­er ex­plains, rep­re­sents a new re­la­tion­ship with God. We want these things to hap­pen. These are new things. These are things we have nev­er seen be­fore Isa­iah 43:16, 18-19. All these ar­ti­cles so far are ex­am­ples of rivers in the desert and ways in the wilder­ness. We re­joice over these im­pos­si­ble and new things that God is do­ing.

But what about us?

We have sinned and have be­come old. We have sor­rowed and suf­fered. We have died so many un­nec­es­sary, mean­ing­less deaths well be­fore we breathe our last breath. Every­thing around us can change but what about us? We car­ry around with us the mem­o­ry of our sin, our im­per­fec­tions and the in­jus­tices done against us. It speaks aloud to ac­cuse us and re­mind us. It is a ready tool of the dev­il whis­per­ing that even though all around us has changed, even though we have been brought to the ta­ble, like Mephi­boseth 2 Samuel 4:4, 9:10-13, we are still, all of us crip­ples.

Is there any hope for us? If God placed us as we are in this new heav­en and new earth, we would be like old wine in a new wine­skin Matthew 9:16-17. We would be­come a mix­ture of old sor­rows and new joys. Func­tion­al yes. Re­fur­bished yes. But not new.

Un­der The Sun

And so Solomon seems to have lost the first part of his ar­gu­ment. In Ec­cle­si­astes, he lays out the earth and de­clares that noth­ing changes. Je­sus comes and makes a new heav­en and a new earth. But how does one undo the sec­ond part of Solomon’s ar­gu­ment? Ec­cle­si­astes lists out and enu­mer­ates the sor­rows of man and the point­less­ness of our strug­gles to live. He says it all ends in van­i­ty and we all end in dust. But he adds the cu­ri­ous phrase “un­der the sun” Ec­cle­si­astes 1:9, 2:17, 4:1, 9:6.

Un­der the sun, un­der the sun, un­der the sun. This phrase means: where there is no God. Where there is no God, all is van­i­ty, all is mean­ing­less, all is mis­ery and in­jus­tice and even in a heav­en with­out God, there is noth­ing new. But where there is God, well, He can make a new heav­en and a new earth like in Rev­e­la­tions 21:1-3. So what then is to be done with the men and women, old and wrinkly, from so many years liv­ing “un­der the sun”?

Made New

He could have wiped us all out and start­ed over. But in­stead He again does some­thing new and won­der­ful. He makes us new : Rev 21:4-5. Think about that one sec­ond. He does NOT make new men and women. No, that would be too easy. In­stead, He makes old men and old women, new. How is this pos­si­ble? Can a man en­ter again into his moth­er’s womb and be born again John 3:4? None of us can make old things new. We can only re­fur­bish them or trash them. Je­sus glo­ri­ous­ly says, I am mak­ing all things new. Not that He is mak­ing new things. Not that He was start­ing over. No. He was tak­ing these dead bones and giv­ing them life again.

How? How does He do this? Not only does God take away the old tears over the old things (and that is in­cred­i­ble enough). He also takes away the pos­si­bil­i­ty of new tears over the old sor­rows. He takes away the pos­si­bil­i­ty of new tears and puts an end to all new sor­rows, pains and deaths. Ask a par­ent who has lost a child how that sor­row will ever go away? Ask a child of war how that sor­row will ever go away? Ask a woman who has been abused how that sor­row will ever go away? Would they even want to for­get? They would lose them­selves in the at­tempt of for­get­ting. I don’t know how Je­sus does it. I only know what the ef­fects are.

Not A Promise

Let us nev­er ever for­get that this pas­sage is NOT a promise from God. It is A REV­E­LA­TION to John. John watch­es these things hap­pen be­fore his eyes. As far as all the heav­ens are con­cerned, it is al­ready done John 19:30, 2 Cor 5:15-17. The heav­ens and the earth are al­ready new. The old has passed away. If you be­lieve in Je­sus and be­come a Chris­t­ian, you have al­ready been made new. The rest of your time on this earth is a pro­gres­sion and a test of how much you be­lieve this to be true. Be­lieve in Je­sus and do what He says. You, the Chris­t­ian, are a promise and an ex­am­ple from God to the world of this great thing He has done.

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