Revelation 21:1, 4 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV)
There is a list of words starting with “re” that creates an unbreakable thread in Scripture, revealing God’s plan for mankind and creation. I want to start today with “return, restore, and renew” because they provide us a picture of God’s master scheme starting at with the first Adam and culminating in the eternal heavenly reign of the Second Adam.
- renew: to make like new
- restore: to put back into a former state
- return: to go back to
God created the heavens and earth, and then man (Genesis 1). After creating all, He pronounced it as “good”, meaning perfect. Sin had not yet reared its ugly head in the spirit of man, and the earth and humans were exactly as only a perfect God could create them. This was, and will be, life the way God ultimately intends: sinless, beautiful, fulfilling and in perfect fellowship with God. ALL creation: physical and spiritual was perfect, and will be perfect again some day.
In the same manner that sin and death entered by one man, we will ultimately return to this perfection by, and because of, One Man as well.
Romans 5:18-19 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Renewed: to make like new
The earth and heavens will be made new. Our bodies will be made new. All things that God created perfectly will be made new. Everything that was perfect before tainted by sin, will again be renewed to perfect: man, earth, heaven – ALL creation both physical (future) and spiritual (already done).
1 Corinthians 15:53-54 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (NKJV)
Restore: to put back into a former state
Many Christians will reply “I don’t know what heaven will be like, but I know it will be great”. Why? How come the average Christian can’t talk all day about what heaven will be like? The Bible is full of descriptions of heaven. Creation is full of description. Man’s mind and heart is full of description. God has given us PLENTY of both facts and indications of what heaven will be like both divinely written in the Word, and divinely written on our hearts that are created in His image.
Foremost in description is Genesis itself. God created the Earth and Man to be exactly what He wanted. What we read in Genesis that is true about the perfect creation will be true of the perfect new Earth. “Heaven” is the New Earth, New Heavens and new glorified bodies reunited with the dimension of God and the angels. It will all be “new” in the sense that the “sinful old” will be destroyed and gone forever, and the perfect “new” will be reborn. Earth and man will be “restored” in the sense that God’s original perfection will once again be reality without NO chance of being corrupted for all eternity.
2 Peter 3:11-13 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (NKJV)
Return: to go back to
Like restoration, “return” speaks of something that harkens back to the way it was previously. For Christians, we are on a return trip to Eden, only better. We are returning to a perfect Earth where the veil that separates the heavenly will be no more. We will return to perfect dominion of a New Earth created perfectly for perfect humans (sinless) by a perfect God.
Many Christians are confused or baffled at the overall plan of God for man, but it is quite simple: He created a perfect heavens and earth as a home for sinless humans whom He could enjoy a perfect love relationship with through which ALL would glorify His Son who exists eternally to rule it all.
God knew that sin would occur as a result of the genuine free will of man to love or reject Him. He was not surprised or caught off guard. A perfect all-powerful God is never fooled, surprised or hindered by any thing, any one or any time. The over all plan of God is to thwart sin and death (which He has), and restore, renew and return His creation and creatures back to the relationship He intends (He has, and He is). Not just a return to ONLY what was, but a return to that PLUS much more… an eternity more!
Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (NKJV)
Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (NKJV)
When you think about “WHY?” concerning God’s plan, many of the answers will be found in words like “return, renew and restore”. We are returning to perfect fellowship made possible by Jesus’s sacrfice. The heavens, the earth and our bodies will be renewed to eternal perfection because Jesus conquered death. All things will be restored ultimately for the glory of God the Father and to praise of Jesus Christ the Lamb.
Why did Jesus die? Why will God burn up the heavens and earth? What is heaven like? Many foundational questions are answered by Bible words that start with “re”.
Lord God, Help us to understand all these important words and how they fit into Your plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: Think about these words now, and see if they mean more to you after we study each one. God’s plan is to make all things new, again; to restore all that has been lost or temporarily distorted, and return to a perfect Earth, perfect Heavens and a perfect relationship with sinless humans.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?