The Old Must Go Away
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. . . 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.” Revelation 21:1-3
We’re in the process of selling our cabin. We’ve owned it for 11 years and we’ve loved it, but it’s always going to be a little cabin with not quite as much room as we’d like. Because we’ve loved it so much though, it’s been bittersweet to say goodbye. As we’ve been moving into our new place, we’ve thought that it would be nice to keep the old cabin for a while. What if we don’t like the new house? What if we want to go back? To get to the new place though, financially, the old place had to go. While we kept one foot in the cabin, we couldn’t get to the new house and so, we had to make the leap. Yes, it’s involved loss, but for us to get to the new life, the old one had to die. We simply couldn’t live in both places at once.
Though it’s on a much grander scale, this is the principle John wrote of in today’s passage. In it, he saw the old heaven and earth pass away so that a new heaven and earth could take its place. The old earth is irredeemable broken and for a new universe to exist, the old must go. In this new paradisal earth, those who’ve placed their faith in God will live with him forever. This is heaven and for us to get there, we must leave behind the old world. We don’t get to live with one foot in both worlds. For the new to come, the old must die.
This is a life principle here on earth as well. In my first few attempts at sobriety, I wanted to be 90% sober. I reserved the right to go back and use periodically. Addiction doesn’t work that way though. I can’t use drugs occasionally and live in recovery. While I continued to use, I spiraled towards disaster. To find the new life – to live in faith and recovery – I had to completely abandon the old ways. I can’t ever drink again. Is that a loss? Yes, but a minor one. In the new life, I can see that the only thing I’ve sacrificed is my misery as I find authentic hope, joy, and peace in my new life. For the new to come, the old must die.