Scripture says, “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’” (Revelation 21:5 – ESV). Wouldn’t that be nice? We read passages like this, particularly when our old, sinful world seems to be a bit depressive, if not oppressive, especially when facing tragedy or death. Would it not be grand if everything were new, fresh, and pristine? Think of a world without distress, disease, hunger, pollution or the like. Imagine what kind of a song John Lennon might compose on that notion. Why do people of all times, nations, and religions seem to share this same dream of all things being new?

Plainly, we all learn very early in life that there is something wrong not just with our planet but particularly with us human beings. On the lighter side of things, children or siblings are heard very often to complain, “It’s not fair!” to which the reply is often, “Life’s not fair.” So, why is life not fair? On the more heinous side, some children are abused and killed before they have the words to utter, “It’s not fair,” because someone no longer wanted to hear them cry. “Luckily” for many or most of us, we are oblivious to the suffering that so many in our world endure until they cannot endure any longer. In relation to the massive plight of so many at any given time in human history, complaining that “it’s not fair” seems trite, if not self-absorbed at best.

In light of, or in the shadow of, our sinful human reality, the juxtaposition of “I am making all things new” and “these words are trustworthy and true” seems to underscore our human experience that nothing is new or true and thus that neither statement is much more than “pie in the sky.” Such is the criticism of those who discount the Bible and the Christian faith. This disregard, if not disdain, seems to arise from the discrepancy between these words and our reality. Such critics, however, fail to understand our human reality. Although they seem to recognize the symptoms of humanity’s plight, they fail to grasp that humanity’s primary predicament is not merely symptom but sin, something over which critics of the faith have no power either to address or remedy. It would be interesting to research whether and why critics of scripture and the Christian faith make “New Year’s resolutions,” and if so, whether they are any better than the rest of the world at keeping them? Even if they are better, are they able to keep all of them all the time? Even the idealists fall into the reality and hypocrisy of human sin, whether or not they can or will acknowledge it.

As most of humanity cannot grasp the reality of human sin, they are not only unable to address it but even more unable to grasp or believe that God has done exactly that. Viewed more broadly, the modern day rejection of Christians and their faith is nothing more that the continuing rejection of Jesus Christ. By disregarding and disdaining the Son of God, sinful human beings triumphantly declared that they had solved a problem, but in reality they only demonstrated again that they had failed to understand the problem or even its symptoms. More poignantly, they failed to understand that the crucifixion of Jesus is God’s solution to human sin. How so?

As indicated above, when human beings think of making “all things new,” we imagine everything to be new, fresh, and pristine. For that to happen, though, everything existing would been to be destroyed in order to give way to the new. Instead of destroying all, or nearly all like in the flood in Noah’s time, God instead sent his Son, the word made flesh, into our human sinful existence to call us out of the darkness and destructiveness of sin and death. Taking on human flesh, God let darkness and death overshadow the light of his word in Jesus on the cross. Three days later, God called for the darkness of sin and death to be obliterated by the light of the word of Jesus’ resurrection. The juxtaposition of the cross and the resurrection comprise and compose the words which are trustworthy and true. The proclamation of these words makes everything new because it creates in sinners dead to God a living faith in the living God. That is not something which the human mind can grasp. Instead, with these words God grasps the human heart and holds it fast in his love and forgiveness forever. The faith created by this word in us sinners is not merely to mimic a resolution for a new year, but rather this faith is a whole and holy new way of being every minute of every day until time passes away.