We’re told that we are aliens and strangers in this world, and should be longing for a better country (Hebrews 11:13-16). However, that better country isn’t up in the clouds—it’s down on the New Earth.
Scripture says, “in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). Yet very few Christians I’ve spoken with really are looking forward to the New Earth God promises us. We have denied ourselves and our children a major doctrine of Scripture, spoken of repeatedly in the Old Testament prophets. We have somehow overlooked the promise of Romans 8 that Christ’s redemption extends not merely to human souls, but to the whole creation that groans for redemption, having fallen on our coattails, and waiting to rise in our resurrection. Revelation 21-22 promises God will come down from Heaven and dwell with us on the New Earth, which will have nations and rulers and cultures and dwelling places, where people will do exactly what God commanded the first man and woman to do on a perfect earth—rule it to God’s glory.
The next verse says, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this [the new universe], make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14). Anticipating a coming world in which all right choices will be rewarded by God inevitably changes the way I live today.
Once I grasp what the New Earth means, I can’t help but look forward to it, and this creates a fundamental paradigm shift. For instance, I can look at the beauty of a waterfall, forest, flowers, rivers, animals and people and manmade wonders and not say, “But I shouldn’t love these things, because this world is not my home.” No, I should say, “God has revealed Himself to me in these things. While the world as it now is—under sin and curse—is not my home, the New Earth filled with beauties such as these—no longer under sin and curse—will be my home forever! I will not be reunited with disembodied loved ones floating in clouds, I will walk the earth again—or for the first time with those who died young or were handicapped—with those I’ve loved who know Jesus.”
This will bring an indescribable hope and joy and vitality to our lives.