There are some things that, when you truly believe them, change your life. There are some verses of the Bible that I recognize, when I read them, that I need to receive their truths down into the depths of my very soul. Today’s reading in the word of God brought me two such verses.
Genesis 1:1 — In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Acts 1:9-11 – 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
In Genesis 1:1, we see the biblical claim that God created the universe. What you and I believe about this verse changes everything about how we view the world. Either this world is created by God with purpose and order and beauty and a goal, or it is not. If this universe is not created by God, it is nothing but randomness, chaos, meaninglessness, and futility. If the universe is created by God in the beginning, then God exists before the beginning. If the universe is created by God, it is his property to direct and do with as he pleases.
Friends, we live in a universe that the Lord created. The air you breathe and the earth you walk upon are on loan to you from the Creator. You own nothing. He owns everything. The reason you exist is simply that the Creator wills you exist. Your life’s purpose is bound up in the Creator. Your hope for eternity is found in the one who set the stars on their courses.
In Acts 1, we see the picture of Jesus returning, alive, to heaven. Then, as the men marveled at that sight, angels came and told them that Jesus, the very same Jesus, the living Jesus, Jesus the Son of Almighty God, will return to earth in just the same way that he left it. And this too changes everything about our worldview.
Friends, Jesus is alive. Right now, today, at the beginning of 2020, Jesus is alive. And Jesus promises to return. The world in which we live has a limited amount of time ahead of it before the Savior comes back. Life will not go on forever as things are now. Christ will again break into human history. Christ will descend back to earth. Christ will make right what mankind has made wrong. Christ rules and will rule forever.
What changes in you when you recall that Jesus is alive now and is returning? So many things that seem vital to you become insignificant. Little slights and insults that feel like major mountains become as nothing in the light of eternity and the Savior’s return. Real hurts, big pains, hard struggles dim and soften in the light of the eternity ahead of us. We can rest in the fact that Christ will do justice and set all things right. We can rest in the fact that the church will survive and grow to the end of the age. We can face persecution with the knowledge that the ultimate outcome of all things is already determined.
As the new year begins, Christians, take these two truths to heart—truths that many of you read on your first day of daily Bible-in-a-year reading. God created this world. It is his. You are his. Jesus is alive and is returning. You have hope and an eternity of joy in front of you if you are under his grace. Let these truths impact how you see everything, absolutely everything.