[From the archives.]
I sat in a darkened theater in May 1977, 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…
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.