All Things Made New

By Anne Graham Lotz   •   May 1, 2008

My husband, Danny, and I bought the house we live in when it was 20 years old, and we have been living in it now for 30 years. Because it is about 50 years old, there are some stains I will never be able to remove, some cracks in the tile that can never be repaired, some wear and tear that gives the house a slightly frayed, worn-out look. It’s just scarred by age.

When I visit some of my friends in their brand-new homes, I look longingly at the fresh, unmarked woodwork and painted walls; the fresh, unstained carpet; the fresh, glistening tile and appliances; the fresh, unscratched windowpanes. It’s all fresh! New! Unscarred, unsoiled and unworn by age!

Planet Earth is, at the very least, thousands of years old. Some think it may be millions or billions of years old. And it is showing signs of age. It is getting frayed and worn out. It is being polluted, gouged, stripped, burned and poisoned, and much of the damage has been willfully and selfishly inflicted by man. But some of the scars are simply due to the wear and tear of age. It was not created to last forever.

In contrast, our heavenly home is going to be brand-new. Not just restored, but created fresh. The Apostle John emphasized this again and again when he described “a new heaven and a new earth” and a “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:1-2, italics mine), and once again the clear directive came from the One Who was seated on the throne, saying, “‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true'” (Revelation 21:5). God Himself was verifying that all His promises are true.

What scars of sin or stains of guilt do you bear in your life? On your emotions? On your personality? On your relationships? On your memories?

Like Planet Earth, do you feel abused and gouged and worn out and burned by other people? Does your life show the signs of wear and tear inflicted willfully and selfishly by those who have had authority over you? Have you ever longed to be able to start your life over again? Maybe you can even identify with the following testimony of a woman who spoke with me several years ago.

After I had presented a message to a large convention, this woman came up to me and briefly told me her story. She described being raised in a family where her father and brothers repeatedly abused her sexually. She was so humiliated, angry and bitter, she grew up to live a very immoral lifestyle. When she finally married and had a family, she abused her own children. One day she heard that God loved her and had sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in order to cleanse her of her sin. She responded by asking God to forgive and cleanse her for Jesus’ sake, and she said she knew He had answered her prayer. “But,” she softly cried, “I just can’t seem to forget. What can I do about the memories?”

What could I say? There was nothing I could do except put my arms around her and tell her that one day there will be no more scars. God will wipe all tears away and erase all memories of such sin and abuse.

Everything, including our heart, mind, emotions, psyche and memories–past, present and future–will be made new.

However, until then, God does give us encouragement. His reassurance is illustrated by this true story that took place years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. A group of fishermen sat around a table in a small pub, telling their “fish stories.” As one of the men flung out his arms to more vividly describe the fish that got away, he accidentally hit the tray of drinks that the young barmaid was bringing to the table. The tray and the drinks sailed through the air, crash-landing against the newly whitewashed wall. As the sound of smashed glass and splashing beer permeated the room, the pub became silent as all eyes turned to the ugly brown stain that was forming on the wall.

Before anyone could recover from the startling interruption, a guest who had been sitting quietly by himself in the corner jumped up, pulled a piece of charcoal from his pocket and began to quickly sketch around the ugly brown stain. To the amazement of everyone present, right before their eyes the stain was transformed into a magnificent stag with antlers outstretched, racing across a highland meadow. Then the guest signed his impromptu work of art. His name was Sir Edwin Landseer, Great Britain’s foremost wildlife artist.

God transforms lives as Sir Landseer transformed the ugly mess on that pub wall. What ugly brown stain does your life bear? Like the woman at the convention, were you abused as a child? Have you abused someone else’s child? Or your own? Have you been raped? Have you been the victim of a violent crime? Have you had an abortion? Or performed one? Have you committed adultery? Or seduced someone else to do so? Is there a nasty addiction in your life–to drugs? Alcohol? Pornography?

Regardless of what the stain is, submit it to God. You must be willing to turn away from any and all sin. Period. God excels in transforming ugly brown stains into beauty marks when we surrender them to Him. He will bring peace and freedom to you and glory to Himself. And when we get to heaven there will be no more scars and no more suffering of any kind, including the kind that inflicted the wound that has scarred your life.

LASTING TREASURES
The Bible tells us that when we get to heaven all of our sins and flaws will fall away, and we will be like Jesus. With our unique personalities and characteristics, every single one of us is going to perfectly reflect the character of Christ. And as we walk on streets that reflect like mirrors, every step we take and every move we make is going to bring glory to Him.

Do you ever get frustrated with the habits of sin in your life? I do! Even though I have been to the cross and have received forgiveness for all my sin, I still sin. I don’t want to. I try not to. I hate sin! But I still sin. The reality of sin is the single most discouraging, defeating, depressing fact in my life. But I can look forward with hope. Because one day, when I get to my Father’s House, all of my sin …

my sinful tendencies
my sinful thoughts
my sinful actions
my sinful attitudes
my sinful habits
my sinful words
my sinful feelings …

all my sins are going to fall away like a stinking garment that’s discarded. What will be left at that point will be the character of Christ that has developed in me during my life on earth.

When I obeyed Him in the midst of suffering …
When I trusted Him with unanswered prayer …
When I loved Him without having seen Him …
When I believed in Him even though all evidence was contrary to His Word …
When I focused on Him in the darkness of depression and discouragement …
When I hoped in Him alone to bring me through …

His character was being formed in me.
When I chose to be patient instead of frustrated …
When I chose to love instead of hate …
When I chose to hold my tongue instead of lash out in anger …
When I chose to gently instruct instead of harshly correct …
When I chose to be gracious instead of rude …
When I chose to be kind instead of mean …
When I chose to tell the truth instead of lie …

His character was being formed in me.
When I chose to submit to the pain …
When I chose to accept the pressure …
When I chose to bear the burden …
When I chose, every day, to deny myself and take up the cross of His will for my life that includes suffering …
When I chose to follow Him and not the crowd …
When I chose to live by His Word, not by the opinions of others …
His character was being formed in me.

And it’s His character, revealed in and through me, that will be reflected throughout my Father’s House!

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