The Gospel of Christ is a Gospel of transformation. This series has been a deeper dive into the transforming work of God in our lives, both in a moment and through a process. Today we conclude our series speaking about the culmination of God’s transforming work in our lives.
From the moment that sin entered into the world through the garden of Eden, humanity has longed to return to Eden. Eden represents a place where all is as God created it to be and where we experience the fullness of God’s glory. The story of God shows us this journey:
-The Tower of Babel is built as man attempts to reach heaven. (Genesis 11)
-God promises to bless Abraham and make him a great nation. Later the author of Hebrews notes how Abraham longed for a place ( “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10)
-Moses leads the children of Israel out of captivity towards the land God has promised, in spite of their disobedience and rebellion. (Exodus 4-40)
-The children of Israel established Jerusalem as the city of God. This is an incomplete picture of Eden as people worship idols and rebel against God.
-Jerusalem is conquered and plundered by the Babylonians, and so the cycle continues on throughout the story.
-As we see so much chaos and brokenness in our world today, we continue to long for God’s reception and return to Eden.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
-A new heaven and a new earth suggest that in that final day, what will happen is a transformation.
-Transformation is not just a past tense reality, or a present tense reality….it is a future reality
-Heaven is the ultimate transformation in the life of the believer
There’s a lot I used to think about when I thought about heaven
Two realities of heaven:
1 . We will see Jesus face-to-face.
-John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you
to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
-In heaven we will stand in the presence of Jesus, our Lord and Savior
-We will worship Him and experience his glory and goodnesses like never before
2. What He says goes, finally and forever.
-It often feels like the hurt and pain of this world has the final word, but in heaven we know that He will have the final word.
-In this Gospel of transformation, our God of Transformation has the final word. All things will be made new!
Our final transformation is our firm hope
Other Texts for Study/Reflection:
1 Corinthians 13:11-12
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.