All Things are New
An eternal perspective changes how we live. That viewpoint characterized Paul as he put his trust in God to overcome his trials. God takes what is weak and makes it strong. We do not overcome by our own strength, but by the power of God. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6:10).
This also changes the way we view other significant matters, especially Christ’s death, how we view other people, and how we view our mission as Christ’s disciples.
In 2 Corinthians 5:13-15, Paul wrote, “For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” (CSB)
An eternal perspective provides a different view of the death of Christ and what it accomplishes. From 1 Corinthians 1, the Gentiles see the cross as foolish. The Jews see it as a stumbling block. When seen against the backdrop of the eternal, the cross is God’s power to salvation for both Jews and Gentiles, and this changes everything. Since He died for all, that changes our purpose. We are not to live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us. With eternity in mind, we live for the Lord. All glory goes to Him!
This mindset also changes the way we see people. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 tells us, “From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (CSB)
We see people through a new lens now. We see Christ and His death through new eyes. We aren’t seeing Jesus as the world sees Him. We aren’t seeing other people through worldly, carnal eyes. We are seeing souls made in God’s image, marred by sin, and in need of the only One who can remove those sins and reshape their lives to be new creations. We are seeing people who need to be reconciled to God in Christ.
This new perspective further connects us to a new mission. Continue reading in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21: “Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Though we are not apostles as Paul, Christians are still tasked with a mission from Christ to be lights to the nations and to teach the gospel to all. This message is the same message of reconciliation as it was when Paul preached. It is the good news of grace, the offer of forgiveness, and the promise of a new life and new purpose in Christ. Our whole world changes when we see everything through Jesus Christ and His eternal purpose.
However, coming to grips with the reality of the eternal is difficult because there is much to distract us. Learning to “look at the things that are not seen” because these things are eternal is a grand part of the biblical worldview (2 Cor 4:18). While we long for the “new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13), this present earth seems all too enticing a place for laying up treasures, and we suffer for it. We cling to the hope of a better life here, of better circumstances here, of better things here. Meanwhile, “there” seems too distant, so we look at what this world offers and refuse to let go. The flesh is weak.
By God’s grace, we no longer need to be so wrapped up in the things of this world that we are choked by the cares and riches of this life and become unfruitful for Him (Luke 8:14). We no longer need to see things or people according to the flesh. When our perspective changes, then we can begin to appreciate how important it really is to store up treasures in heaven. We care about here and now, but it must be tempered by the greater, eternal reality that is unseen.
When we modify our view of the temporary with the truth of the eternal, our worldview changes. May God help us to see all things through what is eternal, what is the most valuable, and what is most important in our work and mission as children of God.