New things are awesome. What's cooler than a shiny new iPhone? What smells better than that fresh new car? My personal favorite new is freshly ground coffee. My heart leaps at the scent grind. Culturally we are fascinated by the new, the fresh, and the undiscovered. Technology, science, literature, philosophy, spirituality, our culture is actively and earnestly seeking the new and undiscovered. This fascination is not necessarily a bad thing. Don't get me wrong, significant sin issues can be extracted from our need for new things, as well the need for new perspectives on the timeless truths of scripture. However, I do believe that our enchantment with the 'new' has deep theological roots. The truth is there is deep Biblical meaning to the word "new."
A New Identity
A most basic truth of our identity as Christians is that we are new creatures, given a new identity with new desires leaking from a new heart. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, 21 says,
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come...For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
We are a new creation with a new purpose and a new life. I am not who I was before being saved by Christ. Prior to Jesus we are dead, lifeless creatures, devoid of anything good of our own, unable to please or reconcile to the Creator God (Eph 2:1-10). Our newness allows for a fresh start. A fresh start from a place of pure perfection resting not on our righteousness but on Jesus' perfect righteousness. And part of our new self, our new creation, is a new heart. A new heart that was promised since even before the cross and before Christ. Ezekiel 36:27 says,
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
By his gracious generosity our new creation comes fully loaded with a new heart. A new heart that sees and recognizes the beauty of God, a new heart that yearns to please and love King Jesus. This is a heart open to truth and alive to the realities of the gospel. The callousness and stubbornness of our old self is melted away, revealing a regenerated, living and vibrant humanity. We have a fresh and glorious identity that emanates from our newness.
A New Place
“New” goes deeper than just us and our identity. A huge portion of our promised eternity is built on the new. Revelation 21:1-5 says,
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the seas was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"
Our eternal hope is in the “new.” The place that we will rest eternally with our God is the new heaven and new earth. We will exist with God in a new and glorious place, absent the painful effects of our old lives. Sorrow and mourning, death and suffering, shame and fear, loneliness and alienation, the former products of our old flesh will pass into non-existence, and give way to a new and glorious one. Eternity is built on new. Our hope is in the newness of an eternal joy in cohabitation with our God.
So much of our culture has hijacked and perverted what God has already perfected. The idea of the new, the fresh and the undiscovered are theological and gospel gold mines that we shouldn't let be infected by our sinful sensibilities and the sinful sensibilities that surround us. Our identity and our eternity are merely two of the 'news' that God's world has to offer, dig into the Bible and find the 'news' that speak to you. Let God redeem what we have perverted.