Wednesday, March 21, 2007


It is so easy to get caught up in the latest fads or with our own obsessions that we become driven by the wrong goals. We take our eyes away from God and where He is heading and create our own path. Either we follow the crowd and the latest “spiritual” gimmick; or we take our own direction and gather those around us who say what we want to hear, “confirming” we are on the right track.
These tendencies can take us along many side roads – and for a while we may still be in sight of God, even though we are not walking along the path He has intended. But, if we don’t correct our progress we’ll eventually find ourselves moving further away from Him.

To get to the right path we need to recognise where God wants to take us; what is His ULTIMATE purpose for mankind. We need to make sure we are not making the same mistake as Peter: “…seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” Mark 8:33

Over recent weeks I’ve been regularly meditating on these things wanting to know more about HIS purposes, what HE considers to be important and how mankind fits into HIS plans. I have heard preachers giving different views about the Christian life. Many preach about the blessings God has provided and the importance of living in those blessings. I have heard some refer to the blessings of Eden as being the standard we should be pursuing (Gen 1:28); others refer to the blessings of Abraham (Gal 3:9) or to the blessings promised to Israel (Deut 28:1-14).
Should appropriating these “blessings” be the Christian’s main goal? Is the blessing of His Children in THIS world God’s primary desire and purpose? Is this the reason for the redemption God provided for us through Jesus?

This is what I’ve found:

Scripture clearly reveals that God’s redemption plan culminates in a new home in a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1). The new heaven and new earth are the “better place, a heavenly homeland” mentioned in Hebrews 11:16 and the “prize” mentioned in verses 39-40.

Man’s first home, Eden, was never intended to be the BEST for mankind. It was never intended to be mankind’s destiny. It is therefore NOT an existence to be aspired towards. We should not hold it up as an example of how blessing should impact our lives today. Eden was merely the starting point for man; it was never the end goal. Eden ALWAYS allowed the potential for sin. God gave Adam and Eve free will. Even prior to their creation God knew they would choose disobedience, and through this foreknowledge had designed a plan for man’s redemption.

The new heaven and new earth will have NO potential for sin. The tree of life will be there, but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The choice for God or against God is made here in the current creation. The new creation will only allow access to those who have already chosen obedience and have been clothed in Christ’s righteousness. “The old world and its evils are gone forever” (Rev 21:4).

The new heaven and new earth are the ultimate home of God’s family. This was intended even before the current creation was brought into being . This current earth is (and was always meant to be) the “proving ground” to prepare a family with whom God could share an eternal, perfect, sin-free home.

God’s redemption plan was implemented with the goal of populating this future home. The plan had various stages. The MAJOR stages are the covenants known broadly as the Old and New Covenants (Testaments). Each of these covenants contains their own individual conditions and promises. We need to ensure that we recognise those differences and where we stand in relation to the conditions and promises contained within them. In other words, which parts of these covenants are relevant to us?

1) God’s covenant with Israel (Old Covenant) promised earthly reward for obedience to His law. This reward centred on life within a designated geographical area – “the promised land”. The blessings associated with obedience were physical, material and political. (Deut 28: 1-14). Obedience to God meant being obedient to a specific, detailed written Law.

2) Jesus’ ministry introduced a totally new concept: the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven). This was the MAIN subject of His ministry. He introduced it and described it to His listeners. It is a Kingdom “not of this world”. The gospel He preached (and instructed us to preach) was the gospel of the Kingdom. It is a Kingdom entered through faith, leading to obedience through the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit, (a law written on our hearts). He opened the way to this Kingdom through His death, burial and resurrection, introducing and mediating a new covenant “superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises”. (Heb 8:6).

3) The “better promises” are eternal and are not limited to our earthly lives.
Israel’s “promised land” of the old covenant was geographical. The “promised land” of the new covenant is Heavenly. We can be part of that Kingdom now. Many of its benefits are available to us on earth, but the Kingdom’s complete expression and experience is still future, being fulfilled in the completion of the new creation.