The Goodness of Jesus (6)
Now all things areof God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5.18, 19
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21.5
All things new
For one summer I worked with a master craftsman named Ernie Daniels. Ernie could build or repair anything. He built furniture. He renovated conference rooms. He built additions to buildings. He built his own home by himself, alone. He was a genius at conceiving projects then executing them through to completion.
When it came to making, fixing, restoring, and constructing things, understanding and using tools, and following exact procedures, Ernie was everything I am not. He put up with my klutzy ways for the better part of a summer, always smiling patiently and trying to encourage me. He understood that restoring and making things new was not my calling.
At least, not when it came to construction.
But restoring and making things new is my calling, just as it is the calling of all those who follow Jesus Christ and worship around His throne. Jesus is making all things new. He is filling all things with Himself (Eph. 1.22, 23; 4.8-10), beginning with the soul of each of His followers, and working out from there to fill the spaces and time and relationships and responsibilities of their lives. He is making us new, and through us, He intends to make the world new, to the praise of the glory of God.
Christ is working to fill the vast creation with His newness, and to that end, He has reconciled us to God, sent us His Spirit, given us His Word, and called us to follow Him in every good work our Personal Mission Field requires. Every believer in Jesus is called to be an Ernie Daniels in our own places and spaces and among the people to whom God has sent us.
I learned from Ernie that summer that Jesus will restore and make all things in my life new, if I set my mind on Him and live and work according to the Kingdom-seeking pattern He commands (Col. 3.1-3; Matt. 6.33).
Not the way they’re supposed to be
Jesus is a most creative Renovator. He recognizes that everything throughout the vast creation has come under the baleful effects of the father of lies and sin. The world and everyone and everything in it are not the way they’re supposed to be. All people are robbed of His grace and truth to some degree, and are missing out on the full and abundant life of righteousness, peace, and joy to be found in Him.
All culture – everything we make or use to improve our way in life – is similarly tainted and stained with the sin of those who make and use it. This is not to say that all culture is evil; we’ve seen that this is not the case. There is much good to be found in all kinds of culture. However, “much good” is to the renewing and restoring goodness of Jesus like the local sandlot ballfield is to Camden Yards in Baltimore.
All creation groans under the burden of sin; and whatever space in that creation we occupy, that space is waiting and longing to experience the renewing and liberating care and attention of the sons and daughters of God (Rom. 8.20-22).
The possible forms of renewal that Jesus can take, as He fills us and our spaces and culture, are as many and varied as the people of God themselves. The more we look to Jesus, resting in Him and being filled with His Word and Spirit, the more He will shine His infinitely creative presence and power into all the facets of our soul and all the nooks and crannies of our lives. And, as He does, the world will begin to fill up with the presence of Christ.
Reconciled and restoring
From His seat at the right hand of God, Jesus Christ sends out His volunteers every day, like the refreshing dew, to promote growth and goodness to the glory of God. At the same time, He is putting all His enemies under His feet – some of whom, like us, He subdues in order to save and renew; others, He deals with as seems best to Him (Ps. 110; Rom. 5.10; cf. Acts 12.20-24).
We are the dew of the Lord. Everything we touch should know the refreshing experience of grace and truth. Everywhere we go we should leave a glimmer of God’s glory. Everyone we know should experience us as the dawning of a new day, in which the darkness is being driven away toward that day when darkness will be no more (1 Jn. 2.8).
I cannot renew and restore like Ernie Daniels. My work in the Kingdom is different from his. But I learned from Ernie that, no matter my calling – and no matter your calling – our true vocation is to be agents of the creative and renewing goodness of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has reconciled the world to God; He has declared the cause of darkness to be lost, and the flourishing of the light to prevail. And He is carrying out the renewing and restoring of the reconciled world through those who follow Him – daily praying and working so that the goodness of the Lord might increasingly abound in the land of the living.
1. To what has the Lord appointed you as a “master craftsman”? In your life, where do you expect the goodness of the Lord to abound?
2. Why is it so important that we set our minds on Jesus, exalted in glory, and seek His Kingdom in every area of life?
3. How can you encourage your fellow believers in their individual work for the Lord?
Next steps – Conversation: Talk with a fellow Christian about how you can encourage one another to become “master craftsmen” for the Lord.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.