Tom Hayes

All Things New

Revelation 21:5

A friend of mine said to me, "I see you're driving a new car, Tom." In one sense, he was wrong, for it was not the most recent model. But in another sense, he was right, because it was newer than my last vehicle. So, I agreed with him and answered, "It's new to me!" It was not new in time, but it was new in relation to the old one.

The Greek word kainos, translated "new" most of the time in the New Testament, means just that - - "new as contrasted with the old." The scholars define it as "what is new and distinctive; or what is new in nature" (Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament). Simply put, it means that something is "different, or fresh."

This term is found around twenty times in the Gospels and the Epistles, and, as one has put it, consistently indicates that which is new "as to quality and character" (E. W. Bullinger). Each usage seems to fall into one of three categories andconvincingly reveals Christianity as a blessed sphere where all things are new.

1. A New Covenant

Jesus brought a totally new era and economy. He emphasized this when He said to His disciples, "For this is My blood of the new (kainos) testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28). John underlined it, too, saying, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). This new covenant or testament is the essential basis for Christian experience. It is the single axis on which the world of spiritual blessings revolves. It is the "new" (kainos) bottle (Matt. 9:17), which contains the fresh potent wine of the gospel.

It is true that the new covenant is not new in time. As far back as the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord foretold that He would "make a new covenant" (Jer. 31:31). However, as the new covenant is brought into effect through Christ, it is new as contrasted with the old. It is new and distinctive! It is new in nature! It is truly "a better covenant . . . established upon better promises" (Heb. 8:6). It is better than the old, superior in quality and value.

2. A New Creation

Under the old economy, atonement had to be made for sins every year. But, through the new covenant, we have the promise of complete forgiveness! The Lord said, "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12). Our old life is taken away, and the Lord
makes new people out of us! The great Apostle explained it this way: "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new (kainos) creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (kainos)" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Since we are under a new covenant, the old covenant has no authority over us. We are not restricted to a list of do's and don't's. I know - - for some folks - - this is too good to be true! To others, this makes the Christian life too easy! Yet, it is true! And, we must not forget, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30)! With the Galatians, who were bound by a system of do's and don't's, we must learn that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new (kainos) creature" (Gal. 6:15).

3. A New Commandment

Before Jesus went back to heaven, He set forth the basic rule of His kingdom in these words, "A new (kainos) commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34). We all agree that this law was not new in time, but it was new in nature and quality. When Jesus summarized the law of Moses, He taught that one of the two greatest commandments was, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 22:39). But, because the Jews of Christ's day had so corrupted this principle with their traditions, the Lawgiver's words here were definitely new and fresh.

This commandment of Jesus "is like an old book in a new edition corrected and enlarged," wrote Matthew Henry. One of the outstanding revisions of this Divine law involves Christ's example. He doesn't just tell us to love one another. He shows us how to do it - - "as I have loved you." But, perhaps, the greatest
difference is that we have this love "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost Which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:5). While we are not under the harsh demands of the first covenant, we are not without supervision. We are dominated by a new power - - the love of Christ! "For the love of Christ constraineth us" (2 Cor. 5:14).

It is interesting that the Bible concludes with a barrage of texts in which this word is found. We have learned that the Christian life is constantly new and fresh! These last few verses remind us that our future state will be just as new as our present experience.

We read of a "new name" (Rev. 2:17, 3:12); a "new song" (Rev. 5:9); a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1); a "new Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:2); and, finally (didn't we really expect this?), "all things new" (Rev. 21:5). Amen.