New Beginnings, A New Hope

May 1977

I sat in a darkened theater, one of the grand old movie palaces of San Francisco, and the black screen lit up with huge words scrolling from bottom to top, fading into the distance:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

princess_leia_han_solo_luke_skywalker

This movie lived up to its subtitle: A New Hope. Hope that evil’s reign would come to an end, that good would one day triumph, that there is a Force – inexplicable, perhaps, but a Force – that works in people’s lives to make them more than they could ever be without it.

Star Wars blew my mind.

God’s Promise of a New Hope

All myths are shadows of the one true story, C.S. Lewis argued. Some, like Star Wars,  tell the story better than others but only the Bible tells it truly because the Bible transcends all myth to tell the One True Story.

God’s prophets repeatedly told his people of a new life to come, one that he would create in his people under a new covenant, a new promise that they could never break because it was a promise God made with himself. It is the promise to make us new.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33.)

This happens not because God changes our hearts, but because he takes away the old one and gives us an entirely new heart and a new spirit.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25-26.)

This is the promise fulfilled in Jesus, God the Son. He has cleansed us of all impurity (John 13:8) and made his people new (2 Corinthians 5:17), so that we are now – not in some future time to come, but now – seated alongside Jesus in God’s heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6.)

God has done this for us. No one needs to try to fix their own heart and no one need strive for a better heart in order to please God. God has given us the gift of being completely new creations because of all Jesus has done.

This is what a new hope really looks like. This is the one true story, the good news of Jesus Christ.

It blows my mind.

***

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10 Responses to New Beginnings, A New Hope

  1. Jeannie says:

    You mentioned C.S. Lewis — I just finished reading a biography of him and it talks a lot about the importance of story in drawing us to the One True Story, the only source of hope. It makes me think of all the other stories that I love and that inspire me, like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and how there is just “something” there that makes us long for a better world, a better “us.” Thanks for sharing this message of hope today, Tim.

  2. Aimee Byrd says:

    This article makes me think of Psalm 1. I love the image of the tree planted by the rivers of water, functioning as it should in life, glorifying God. The new life that God gives us is like that. We finally delight in him, finally have the power by his Spirit to obey his Word, and we thrive in the holiness of God.

    • Tim says:

      Great connection to Psalm 1, Aimee. Finally getting to enjoy him as he meant us to is one of the great blessings given in the New Covenant,

  3. Tim, nice post.
    I want to mention that although we’ve seen enough, via the New Testamant scriptures, of Jesus’ identity and fulfillment of some messianic prophecies to know he is messiah, there are plenty more to come upon his return! Our tendency to forget the many yet unfulfilled prophecies is both beautiful (so sure are we that he is messiah, we are already declaring him so, even before all is said and done–that’s why we’re “believers” after all–and, what an honor this shows to God!) but it’s also problematic, since they’re many unfulfilled prophecies that await his return.

    In the Jeremiah 31:31-33 passage you quote, the new covenant is made with the same people as the older covenant, e.g., the Jewish people, and it’s the same Torah [Law] that’s written upon their heart, (for God’s Law is perfect, not defective Psalm 19). And we’ll know it’s fully happened when, everyone knows the LORD, as the very next verse in Jer 31 says:

    “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer 31:34

    Until then I believe we have a “now and not yet” situation.

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