The Rebirth of Creation

Note: The following is article #30 in a series reflecting on chapters in John Piper’s book Future Grace. More information on the book from Amazon.com is available here. A list of all the articles in this series so far is available here.    

In Chapter 30 of the book Future Grace John Piper looks at the final future grace that we set our eyes toward, that of the rebirth of creation.  Before he looks at heaven, though, he once more talks about what the purpose of living by future grace is.  Living by God’s grace is to show God’s glory.  Specifically, living by grace allows us to live lives that, “show that our treasure in God is more precious than the fleeting attractions of sin.”

What does such a changed life consist of?  First, we will be noted for what we don’t do:

We don’t yield to the sinful pleasures of the moment. We don’t devote our best energies to laying up treasures on earth.  We don’t dream our most exciting dreams about accomplishments and relationships that perish.  We don’t fret over what this life fails to give (marriage, wealth, health, fame).

Second, Piper states what we will be seen to do:

We savor the wonder that the Owner and Ruler of the universe loves us, and has destined us for the enjoyment of his glory, and is working inallibly to bring us to his eternal kingdom.  So we live to meet the needs of others, because God is living to meet our needs.  We love our enemies, and do good, and bless those who curse us and pray for those who despise us…

All of this we can do through grace, through faith in what God has in store for us.  And that brings us to the final grace that God will one day bestow upon us, the rebirth of creation.

God has not told us every detail about the new heaven and the new earth, but he has revealed to us what is important, and what is glorious for us to keep in our hearts.  The first thing God has revealed is that we will be raised and we will be changed.  Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:52 that, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

We will be raised to inhabit our body, and yet it will not be the frail body subject to sickness and death such as we have now, for it will be imperishable.  It will be a body that reflects the glory of God and that we will be able to use to glorify God for all eternity, no longer subject to the curse of sin.

Next, God will bring forth a new heaven & a new earth that will be just as glorious:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

Theologians differ on whether the new heaven & new earth will be entirely new, or just the renewal and recreation of our present planet.  In the final analysis, it won’t matter: it will be glorious beyond all our present imagination.

But even with glorious new bodies and a glorious new creation, the real glory will remain the same: the presence of God Himself, now in full view of His children for the first time. Experiencing God in His fullness, without sin, without sadness, without death, for all eternity, is the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams.  As Piper states,

Thus the purpose of God in creation will be fulfilled: the exhibition of his glory for the enjoyment of his people in the never-ending increase of infinite future grace.

Piper ends the chapter with a poem of praise and hope, which includes these words:

And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass…
I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy…
The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,
The cancer-ridden bone is clear.
Arthritic joints are lithe and free,
And every pain has ceased to be.
And every sorrow deep within,
And every trace of lingering sin
Is gone. And all that’s left is joy,
And endless ages to employ
The mind and heart, and understand,
And love the sovereign Lord who planned
That is should take eternity
To lavish all his grace on me. 

 

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>