New Beginnings – Asbury University
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New Beginnings

January 9, 2023

Brian Shelton ’89
Professor of Theology, Chair of the Christian Studies & Philosophy Department, Wesley Scholar in Residence

Revelation 21:5: “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (ESV)

 The apostle John heard the words, “I am making all things new” while witnessing this difficult vision of Revelation. In this moment, there were reasons for him to be discouraged. He held a prophetic glimpse of suffering from divine judgments poured out onto the earth. He himself was in exile on the island Patmos. Just before this, church tradition has him plunged into hot oil in persecution of his faith. He was likely the sole remainder of the original 12 disciples still alive. The reasons for John to be discouraged were many.

Yet, John’s own experience and 20 chapters of this vision were not the full story. The Revelation vision tells of destruction, but it ends with renewal. The God who had permitted so much suffering seems to declare, “Enough!” Then he declares that it’s time to make things new.

God is one who champions new beginnings. The biblical story of creation opens by declaring, “In the beginning” (Gen. 1:1). We are invited to “sing a new song” unto the Lord (Ps. 33:3). Abraham’s call, Israelites entering the promised land, and the promise of David’s heir all mark new beginnings offered by God. Christians know new beginnings when each of us was made “a new creation” at conversion (2 Cor. 5:17). God loves to refresh, restore, and reestablish his people.

It might seem odd to begin a devotional series with a passage from one of the last chapters of the bible. However, the very end reminds of how God is perpetually making new beginnings. In whatever challenging situation, old habit, or weary condition we may find ourselves, God can bring a fresh start. He seems to love it. As we begin a new year, it is worth remembering how the divine can refresh any situation. God can make anything new.