new or refur­bished

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.

“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowl­edge.”
- 1 John 2:20

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.