“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.” ~~ Isaiah 65:17-18
God speaks through his prophet about restoring his nation by means of a faithful remnant he’ll preserve and return to their homeland. He speaks of creating a new reality, “a new heaven and a new earth” as the only place suitable for his redeemed and restored people to live. Indeed they will live a blessed life: no weeping (19), extended life spans (20), God will answer them before they call (24), and wild animals will even live in peace (25). “They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain” (25).
This scripture rings true for me both as a person of faith and as a creative artist. When I imagine Gods power to create an altogether new thing and his ability to forget the former things that existed, I am amazed! When I paint, each work is built upon the last effort. I may see progress, but I don’t see an altogether radically new thing that springs completely brand new as if made from an entirely different set of rules and materials. But that is what separates me from God–my limits and his infinite powers!
I’ve experienced this new creation that 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” The old stain of sin is washed away–there is a new creation. The old person we once were, we no longer are, for Christ has given us his Holy Spirit to lead a new and empowered life. It may not be “perfect” in all aspects of behavior from the get-go, but if it is “perfect in the intention of love of Christ and neighbor,” the rest will come under the power and authority of Christ eventually.
I only wonder why so many who have given their life to Christ don’t participate in the blessings of the “new creation.” I think it’s because they only surrender their assent (their mind) and don’t surrender their heart, soul, and strength to their savior. Jesus came to save ALL of us, not just every one of us, but ALL of every person. If we aren’t willing to give over our whole selves, we don’t have the opportunity to have a whole new creation made in us, and so we fail to live on the holy mountain and enjoy the totality of God’s blessings.
When I paint, I throw my whole self into my work: all my energy, all my joy, and all my ability. If I were to withhold part of myself, the painting would show how much I was holding back. Our lives in Christ are like this: we either are a light shining in the darkness or we are hiding our light under a basket, hardly making a difference in the night. We can depend on God’s Spirit to help our flame burn brightly and light the world!