We’ve seen and heard it described in myriad ways. Some are actually in the Bible. It’s a place where the streets are paved with precious metal. A place of purity and timelessness. A place of extraordinary worship and togetherness. A place where nobody worries about the safety of their children and nobody nervously waits for lab results.
Yes, I’m talking about heaven. And like the uber-hit song says, I can only imagine what it will be like. But like you, I have imagined quite a bit… some in earnest, some in fun fantasy before the Lord.
But there was one thing about heaven I had overlooked until a couple of days ago. I had read and actually preached from this verse many times and passed right over it. I’ve read this verse at gravesides and church houses countless times and never quite got it. But I think it’s an important thing to get…
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
All things new.
Heaven is a place for a complete overhaul of everything you and I have ever known – in your case, starting with you. Talk about an extreme makeover! You and your home get a complete redesign.
And just in case you have your doubts – “Aw shucks, not me” – He added, “These words are faithful (you can count on it) and true (yes, even you).”
But that’s only half the story.
The Down Payment
There is another time this phrase, “all things new” is mentioned. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV).
When a person has a true encounter with Jesus Christ – what we blandly refer to as a conversion experience – we get a complete makeover from the inside out.
All things new.
And just in case you have your doubts – “Aw shucks, not me” – he used the word anyone.
Are you an “anyone?”
Are you in Christ?
Then that verse describes the truth about you.
Putting those two verses together, your conversion experience, like so much more, is a precursor to a greater hope. What Christ does for us in salvation is a small down payment to what He will ultimately do to all of heaven and earth.
In other words, every true believer in Christ is a mini-representation of what a new heaven and earth will look like.
Love-filled and driven.
Gloriously changed, and grateful.
A reflection of the Faithful and True.
Maybe that’s why Jesus doesn’t just zap us up into heaven when we believe. Maybe he wants a little down payment of heaven in this hell of an earth.
Simply put, you and I are billboards for heaven. We’re living advertisements for a day when the same God who is transforming us from sinner to saint, then from glory to glory, will do so for the entire believing world of the dead and the living.
This is a God who will cause lambs to lie down with wolves, turn lions into vegetarians, and transform cobras into babysitters. But his biggest display is already taking place, and all the signs point to you.
Roadside Signs Along the Way
I know a woman who once was so spiritually dead – among other things reflected in a long drug history with multiple arrests. Today she radiantly lives not only to know God personally, but to use her life experience and considerable knowledge to be a change agent for others. She’s a billboard for heaven.
I know a man who was once a science-based skeptic – a brilliant mind who couldn’t reason his way out of an encounter with Jesus. Today he engages with others in the world of ideas and knowledge, and points to Jesus as the only intelligent alternative. He’s a billboard for heaven.
I know a man who was a runaway addict, who hitchhiked across the country in pursuit of God only knows what, but only found what he was looking for when he read the book of Revelation and in fear and trembling gave his life to Christ. Today he’s a pastor, teacher and radio broadcaster who helps people make sense out of a relationship with Christ. He’s a billboard for heaven.
I know a man who once was a slave to explosive rage, and who routinely beat his wife black and blue. But because of her faithfulness to pray and not give up, today he loves his wife with kindness, tenderness and patience. He’s a billboard for heaven.
I know a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional family and whose life was filled with shame-based behavior. She loathed what she saw when she looked in the mirror. Today she has learned to see herself from God’s perspective and lives with amazing peace, joy and contentment. She’s a billboard for heaven.
How about you? How has the Lord Jesus transformed your life and destiny? What down payment has He made in your life to point people to the reality that one day everything will be new again?