“I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'” ~Revelation 21:3
What really makes the New Creation “new” is the immediate presence of God. In Act Six of the Story of God, the perfect presence of the Creator fills all the earth with his radiant glory. God with us. Finally. Face to face with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Finally. When all evil is destroyed, when God’s Kingdom arrives in its fullness, God’s holy throne comes down here. God finally does what he’s promised to do all along: He makes his dwelling with us. He lives with us.
“They will see his face.” ~Revelation 22:4
Imagine life in the physical, visible, intense presence of God. No more fear. No more guessing. No more doubt. This is life in the fullest sense of the word, eternal life joined together with its eternal source. All sorrow and suffering, pain and death, are banished forever in God’s presence. And God himself “will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Isaiah predicted this. John sees it happen. God will wipe every tear from their eyes. How could you ever more vividly depict the love of God for his people?
How does the Story end? This is exactly how it ends.
“These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” ~Revelation 22:6
It’s going to happen. This perfect ending to the Story of God is coming. And this final act peppers us repeatedly with instructions in light of the certainty of God’s Perfected Kingdom: keep these words, do these words, don’t add to this, don’t take away from this, keep your robes washed and clean, because Christ is coming. These words and images are intended to inspire us and thrill us; they’re supposed to teach us and assure us. But this is also an invitation. This last part of the Story begs us to get into it. This is a call to discipleship because of it. This is an invitation to join the Story, to jump into the Story, to set your GPS on “New Creation” and go to it!
Act Six gives all of us a great hope. And, by hope, I want to very clear on this: I mean knowing that what our God has started, he will finish. What our God has promised, he will deliver. Our faithful God is bringing this whole thing to completion.
“Behold! I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” ~Revelation 22:12-14
Our hope is not about wishing this true. It’s knowing how the Story turns out.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
God in Christ will take his people to himself. He will. God will bring us to himself, he will take us in with him, and he will live with us. Act Six will never end. God’s Story will never end. Your story will never end.
This is what we believe. This is why we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” ~Revelation 22:20