the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
In Mel Gibson's movie The Passion, there is a scene in which Jesus falls to the ground as he carries his cross to Calvary. As it happens, Mary the mother of Jesus rushes to his side. At that point Jesus (portrayed by Jim Caviezel), utters the most profound words of the entire movie; "behold I make all things new."
Certainly Gibson exercised artistic license in making The Passion. However, his theology in that particular scene is spot on. Christ did make all things new at the conclusion of his earthly ministry. A new age did dawn with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we have been given the responsibility of bringing that new age into fruition in the practical affairs of our everyday lives.
The Bible tells us that Jesus said "behold, I make all things new" not while on earth but after his resurrection and ascension. In Revelation 21:5-8 we read:
And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
Please note: Jesus said that he is making all things new; the new creation is a current fact that is realized as a process. The individual Believer is immediately a new creation upon confession of Christ; he is also called upon to work out his salvation in fear and trembling. In other words each Believer is given the responsibility of cultivating the new creation in the power of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:12-13 etc.), and to bring all things within his sphere of influence under the Lordship of Christ (Psalm 2:6-9, 110:1-3, Isaiah 9:6-7, Dan 7:14, Matt. 28:18, Luke 10:22, John 3:35, Col. 1:16-19, Matt. 11:29, John 14:21-24, Acts 3:22-23, Eph. 4:14-24). All Bible believing Christians agree that the doctrine of salvation by works is heresy. Unfortunately, many Christians do not understand that salvation confirmed by works is an essential element of the New Testament message.
This disregard for the cultivation of the new creation is a result of our apparent willingness to diminish the importance of Christ and his accomplishments. Far too many Christians believe that Jesus left his work undone when he departed this earth. That simply is not true. The New Testament teaches that with the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ the work of redemption was complete. There is nothing else he must do to bring about the new creation. Again and again we are told that the Believer is a new creation and that all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 2:10, Colosians 3:10-11 and many more). Moreover, we are told that we have the responsibility to develop that "newness" (Matt. 5:1-ff, 11:29, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Gal. 6:7-9, Col. 3:1-ff, Heb. 12:1, 2 Peter 1:5-10 and many more). Thus, the Bible is our blueprint for the right cultivation of that law which was written on our heart as a participant in the new covenant age (Heb. 8:7-13).
A new order was established with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this new order we have been given the responsibility of working with Jesus as he progressively makes all things new; we cultivate the new creation and bring the resurrection power of Jesus Christ into our sphere of influence. That's what the Easter season is all about.