Last week, we looked at how the location of justice is found not in a place but within a righteous judge -- Jesus Christ. We said that one day, justness will take place when, on his Father's authority, Jesus will adjudicate the hearts of all and right every wrong in the world.
In this cosmic courtroom, our innate sense that the injustice in this world is not the way things are supposed to be will find its resolution. The antidote for all the iniquity that has ever befallen humanity will one day flow from the great white throne of Jesus as he judges the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5).
As I've said, it is wildly unpopular to claim that the God-man, Jesus, will one day judge the words, deeds and thoughts of every human being -- but this is what the sacred Scriptures teach.
The consequence of this judgment is even more sobering. Some will enter into eternal life and rest. Others will receive what they have chosen: eternal condemnation and separation from God. Pastor and author, Tim Keller, describes like this: when "we run from the presence of God ... God actively gives us up to our desire (Romans 1:24, 26) ... This is why we can say that no one goes to hell who does not choose both to go and to stay there."
We are all barreling toward an eternal destiny. Our earthly existence is only temporal. It is a way station that culminates in one of two endpoints. What we place our faith and hope in during this life determines which future is ours in the next.
For those found in Jesus on the Day of Judgment, the narrative does not end at the great white throne. Yes, in the cosmic courtroom, justice supplants injustice, wrongness supersedes rightness and evil is exchanged for goodness. But the story does not end there.
After the judgment, the location of Justice will acquire a new home. The just King will rule and reign in a distinctive setting for all eternity. This dwelling place is why there is a second part in this series.
The great white throne is really the opening act of interchanging the world's wickedness with perfect righteousness. The full realization of justice is found in the second act.
"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"
John the Revelator says that the new dwelling place coming down out of heaven is with man. Jesus will come from heaven to earth -- not to take us away from earth but rather to restore earth to what he intended so he can live with us here forever.
In the end, Jesus will usher in a new heaven and a new earth -- a place that will have no more sorrow, no more death, no more pain. All that is wrong will be made right. Comprehensive justice achieved.
But what about the earth as we know it now? Will it end? In one sense, yes. That is what it says in 2 Peter 3. But will it come to a final end? The answer to this question is a resounding no.
When Revelation 21:1 says that the old earth will pass away, it means that a new earth will be raised in its place. Author Randy Alcorn says it this way: "A new earth is an earth that is made new or an earth that is renewed. A new car is still a car. A new year is still a year. A new body is still a body. A new earth is still an earth."
The new dwelling place for Jesus is the earth we live in now, but transformed into something brand new. Alcorn continues, "A new earth is not a non-earth but an earth redeemed, restored to its original beauty and then some."
For those who place their faith in Jesus, we are waiting for the time when all that is right reigns over all things. The "new Jerusalem" is that place. We get to live in a new heaven and earth where Jesus rules and reigns with unbroken righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13 says, "But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
The solemn reality is that we don't know when this will happen. We live in the "already not yet" of what is to come. 2 Peter: 3 says that Jesus will come like a thief. This means that he will not announce his arrival. It will be a surprise. It will be sudden and unexpected.
When he does come back, Jesus is going to make all things new. All the injustice in the world will be made right by the one who is perfectly just. Jesus will return. The question is inescapable: will you be ready when he does?
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