Tag Archives: new heaven and new earth

Are you in “the pains of childbirth?”

Easter changes everything. The resurrection of Jesus Christ established historical precedent. It also provided immense ramifications for his believers: not only a new and wonderful life after death but an abundant life right now. His gift of the Holy Spirit provides a measure of that same resurrection power in our own lives – power to live victoriously in spite of the troubles we face.

While this is true, it doesn’t always seem that way, does it? We look around and see the world in disarray, hurting and despair wherever we turn. Everything seems in a state of decay, slowing dying. Even our scientists observe that all things are bent toward entropic deterioration and decay. Whether we’re faced with crushing pain or a deep sadness over our lot in life, or whether we’re facing the pain of disease that ravishes our body, it’s sometimes hard to think that things are going to get better. It seems that we, along with the whole world, groan for resurrection. (Romans 8:19)

It looked that way on the Friday Jesus was crucified. All hopes and dreams were dashed. Jubilation was replaced by deep sorrow. Confidence lost out to fear. It was the darkest hour of all time. That was Friday. But Sunday was coming! Sunday would (and did) change everything. Sunday brought the resurrection, new life, restored hope, and renewed faith. When things looked like they could not get any worse, they suddenly became miraculously better – much better!

“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22) Did you catch the comparison? The excruciating pains of childbirth are real but they are temporary.  Temporary pain is exchanged for the joy of new life! We understand that in the hospital labor room. But can you see this truth in the labor room of your present pains, your current sorrow, and your very real disappointments? As dark and terrifying as they seem, they are about to give birth to new light and new life, if Jesus is at work. Temporary suffering, even if it is for a lifetime, is not forever. All things will be made new. Just as the first two chapters of the bible speak to the creation of heaven and earth, the last two chapters speak of the new heaven and earth. And here we are in the middle of that magnificent story of God’s redeeming love. The resurrection power of God takes us from the pains of childbirth to the miracle of new life. We experience that restoration “on earth – as it is in heaven” when we allow God’s Spirit to renew us in the midst of our present trial.

How does thinking about your current struggles change when you consider them like the temporary pains of childbirth, about to give birth to a new, more abundant and victorious life? A life that may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

LIFE is at work in you. New life in the presence of death and decay, joyful hope in the presence of current sorrows, victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. This is the abundant life Jesus offers to each of us. It’s yours, and mine, for the believing and receiving.

I don’t know about you, but I’m trading my sorrows for the joy of the Lord.

Are you experiencing heaven on earth?


God restores.  He doesn’t have to. He could divorce us, walk away, and start over. But he is, has always has been, and always will be in the business of:

And reclaiming

His plan to restore his creation is the centerpiece of his work on earth and and will be completed when the new heaven comes down to the new earth. (Revelation 20-21)  But God’s plan is not only for a new earth later, but renewal and restoration in your life right now.

Ponder this list, one by one. Is there an area of your life that needs reclaimed and redeemed by God for your own good? What about the good of others close to you? How would they benefit from your surrendering of all things to the control of God’s Spirit? Unconfessed sin, negative thoughts and emotions, and even apathy can set up strongholds in our minds. We try over and over to tame a critical tongue, a tendency to gossip, our penchant for personal gain, worry, fear, and our wasteful obsessions with things that don’t matter at the expense of those that really do. Oh, how we work to be “better Christians.” But it will never work out on our own. It is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. We win only by surrendering. Only by consistently and persistently and relentlessly surrendering these strongholds to God’s control will we conquer them. And not only is he able to free us, it’s his desire to do so. It’s part of his master plan.  It’s part of the bigger picture of his redemptive plan to salvage his creation.

Have you ever wondered why God left us here on earth after he saved us? Why didn’t he just take us right away to heaven? Was it to work hard to serve him? The way I see it, we are left here to enjoy him:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  (Westminster Catechism – though I agree with John Piper, that it better reads “Man’s chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.) It’s the job description not only for our time on earth but for all eternity. We exist to glorify God, because he alone is worthy of our praise. How do we glorify God? By enjoying him and being fully satisfied in him.

You already know what it means to enjoy time with a trusted friend, a walk in the park, and shared joys with close family. What does “enjoying God” mean to you? Can you imagine intimate fellowship with the one who loves you most, sitting at the feet of the master, watching his light disperse the darkness from your life? Could you marvel at his splendor, his wisdom, strength, his mercy and grace, and the depth of his unending love he lavishes upon us? Do you know what it is to experience firsthand his restorative work in your life, even as we dance trials? To possess the one thing that positively impacts those around us and our passion for living well, even in the midst of trying circumstances?

We experience “heaven on earth” by dwelling in his presence now. It’s how Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s a precursor of the new heaven those who are redeemed will one day experience. It’s his restoration plan to proclaim good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim freedom for the captives, and release them from darkness. (Isaiah 61:1)

There will come a time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when God will redeem and restore all his creation. His Word says that all who believe in the name of His Son, Jesus, will enjoy it forever. Shouldn’t thinking of this grab our attention now?

Randy Alcorn quotes British theologian J.C. Ryle: “I pity the man who never thinks about heaven,” and adds “thinks correctly” about heaven. “It’s our inaccurate thinking that causes us to think so little about heaven,” he says while noting that heaven has fallen off our radar screen.

I hope thinking of heaven inspires you and gives you hope. More over, I hope that you will enjoy  the “heaven on earth” he offers to all who believe and keep on believing in his Son, Jesus, the rescuer of our souls.