Wait, don’t emigrate

visaI’m sure you also enjoy watching the home renovation shows on TV.  The family goes away for a few days, a specialized building and renovation team come in, and when the family turns they can’t believe their eyes.  There is a new, improved, better house and everyone’s happy, crying and hugging.  

The Bible tells us that this is what’s going to happen to our world and universe.  At a time in the future that only God knows, our present world and universe will be set free from its bondage to corruption and be totally renovated, renewed and transformed into what God intended it to be.

We who have believed the gospel will live with God and each other in a renovated world where there is no death, or illness, or crime, or sin.

Christianity is not about God saving my “soul”.  Christianity is about God totally renovating the entire universe, including those who trust and obey Jesus.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21)

The future of believers lies not in floating as spirits in the clouds of heaven, but in a fully renewed world, to be enjoyed with fully renewed bodies.

Christianity, not Buddhism

At our church we often affirm our faith by saying the Apostles’ Creed together.  We don’t say, as part of the creed, that we believe in the “Immortality of the soul” (that’s Buddhism), but in the “Resurrection of the body”.

I’ve never run a marathon.  I’ve got a limp from a car accident many years ago so I can’t run; but even if I wasn’t in a car accident I doubt I would ever do the Two Oceans! But maybe in the renewed world I will!

Our present world and experience is characterized by suffering, groaning and weakness.  God may heal, but he doesn’t always heal. We certainly can’t demand God to heal. We always pray, “Your will be done, not mine”. We look forward to a new world free of sin, pain, death, and suffering.

Bad things happen

Things go wrong: there’s Alzheimer’s, cancer, floods, drought, natural disasters, growing old, death, car accidents and divorce. If you are struggling at the moment, it’s not because you’re necessarily a bad person or a weak Christian, but most probably because you are living in a fallen universe that’s in bondage to corruption.

What do we do know?  We wait with patience (v25).

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25)

The problem with the charismatic, healing movement is that they don’t want to wait. They want all the blessings of heaven now.

Have you put your faith in Jesus? Are you struggling? Health? Circumstances?  Will you wait a little longer?  God will bring a happy end to your time of trouble – maybe in this world, but certainly in the next.

Do you long for a better world? Do you long for a safer world where there is no crime? Do you long to sleep with door unlocked? An end to child pornography? To walk in the mountains without worrying? To feel totally secure all the time 24-7? Do you long for these things?

Wait. Just. A. Little. Longer. 

A message to South Africans

Don’t emigrate, wait.

God has a plan for us.  We were born in South Africa for a reason.  Imagine there was a country and when things got difficult in that country all the Christians left.  Would that be a good thing?  The hope for our country is the gospel and the gospel-bearers need to stay.  God is sovereign; even over the country you were born in. 

Of course, there are legitimate reasons to move to another country, but I would hazard to say there are also many illegitimate reasons.   

The new world

If you are a Christian, the renovated universe is coming.

However, if you have not put your faith in Christ, you will have no part in the glory that will be revealed.

If you have not put your faith in Christ, your sins are not forgiven and you still stand condemned before a Holy God.  God cannot and will not allow you into the renewed, transformed universe.