1. Death will be defeated.
- “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:26)
- “… then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)
2. Righteousness will be established forever.
- “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Pet. 3:13)
3. Our bodies will be full redeemed.
- “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 15:51-53)
4. All past offenses and wounds will be healed.
- “… no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” (Isa. 65:19b)
5. Our needs will be forever and fully met.
- “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1)
6. Conflict will cease.
- In the New Jerusalem “… its gates will never be shut by day– and there will be no night there.” (Rev. 21:25)
7. Relationships will be loving, peaceful, perfect.
- “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.” (Isa. 65:25)
8. Our work will be meaningful, joyful, successful and fulfilling.
- “If we endure, we will also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:12a)
9. God will dwell among us openly and manifestly.
- “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Rev. 21:3)
10. We will be utterly satisfied forever in God and His goodness to us.
- “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21)
11. We will be fully “glorified.”
- “… we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Phil. 3:20b-21)
12. Christ will be eternally glorified in us.
- “… he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints …” (2 Thess. 1:10)
13. We will experience the fullness of mercy.
- Paul said of Epaphroditus: “may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!” (2 Tim. 1:18)
14. Will enjoy the final safety of all we’ve entrusted to God.
- “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12, NASB)
15. We will receive “the unfading crown of glory.”
- “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4)
16. We will receive: “the crown of righteousness.”
- “… which the Lord the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only on me, but on all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8)
17. We will receive “the crown of life.”
- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10)
18. We will shine forever to God’s glory.
- We “will shine like the sun in the kingdom of [our] Father.” (Matt. 13:43)
19. We will finally and fully be conformed to the image of Jesus.
- “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son …” (Romans 8:29)
20. God will wipe every tear.
- “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes …” (Rev. 21:4a)
- “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth …” (Isa. 25:8)
21. There will be no more death or pain.
- “… death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4b)
22. We will experience “fullness of joy.”
- “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11)
23. We will be invited to the joy of our Master.
- “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt. 25:21)
24. We will be welcomed to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
- “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:6-7)
25. The Kingdom of God will have come.
- “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16)
- “I saw … with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man … And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:13-14)
26. Rewards will be distributed and enjoyed.
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor. 5:10)
27. The curse will be reversed!
- Christ victorious over the devil (Gen. 3:14-15; Rev. 20:7-10); Pain gone (Gen. 3:16a; Rev. 21:4); Relationships peaceful (Gen. 3:16b; Isa. 65:25; Rev. 21:25); Ground fruitful (Gen. 3:17-19; Rev. 22:1-2).
28. We will be free from indwelling sin.
- “… when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
29. The “world” system will be destroyed.
- “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
30. The devil defeated and his demons defeated.
- “… the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10)
31. Jesus will receive us to Himself that we might be with Him.
- “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)
32. All things revealed for the truth of what they are.
- “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Matt. 10:26)
33. We will receive the lives we “lost” for Jesus.
- “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25)
34. We will be manifested fully as the sons of God.
- “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19)
35. Jesus will be fully vindicated before all creation.
- “… as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7b)
36. We will be vindicated in our faith.
- “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20)
37. We will see mighty angels securing Christ’s final triumph!
- “… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” (2 Thess. 1:7)
38. Relief will be given to all who have been afflicted.
- Jesus will come “to grant relief to you who are afflicted” (2 Thess. 1:7)
39. We will receive our inheritance.
- Ours is “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:4-5)
40. It will be a day of joy and gladness.
- “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Pet. 4:13)
41. All the promises of God will be fulfilled to the nth degree.
- “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (2 Cor. 1:20)
42. The “deposit” of the Holy Spirit will be paid out fully.
- The “Holy Spirit … is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13b-14)
43. What we’ve known in part, will be fully known to us.
- “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
44. Our waiting on Jesus will be vindicated.
- We are “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (2 Pet. 3:12)
45. Our labors to bring back the King will be rewarded.
- “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
46. All nations united in worship of God.
- “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” (Rev. 21:22)
47. God will be all in all.
- “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28)
48. Things you can’t even begin to imagine.
- “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
49. We will come into possession and experience of “all things” …
- “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
50. We will behold how “all things [have worked] together for good.”
- “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28, NASB)
Now take your Bible and see if you can find 50 more!
Can you recall the first time you … ate pizza in a restaurant? Went to a professional baseball game? Laid eyes on the one who would become our spouse? Held your child? Went to the emergency room?
Do you have a recollection of your first … day of School? Car? Date?
Add up all the “firsts” in your life; plot them along a timeline of your life. Where do you find the greatest concentration of “firsts”? It’s probably in the first portion of the timeline.
Here are a couple of lines from Scripture. Tell me on which end of the timeline of life do you think the author was when he wrote this.
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new?’ It has been already in the ages before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
If you guessed him to be an older man, I’d say you are correct.
When we are young our orientation to life is generally future oriented. We are facing forward. We imagine and anticipate great things.
As we age our orientation to life becomes more and more oriented to the past. We are facing backward. Anticipation has been replaced by experiences and the memories that go with them. We no longer engage life according to the possibilities, but more and more interpret it through our experiences.
But here’s my question: Does it have to be this way?
I don’t think so. Hold the aging Solomon’s cynicism with life against the hopeful view of the future that gripped the aged Apostle John. To him God said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:3).
Note, He does not say, “I will make all things new.” Nor does He say “I will have made all things new.” Nor yet, “I made all things new.” It is, to be technical about it, a present tense verb. That might simply mean that at the moment of speaking it God would be in the midst of making all things new. But there is also the legitimate possibility that this is descriptive of what God might ever and always say and do in the eternal future of what we call “heaven.” Forever—for all eternity—God will continuously be making all things new.
Is not this what God is doing in this very moment in time (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16-18)? So what’s to say that heaven won’t be made up of a continuous, ongoing renewal … so that everything, each time will be always be a “first” time?
We concluded that most of the “firsts” of life are front-loaded on our timelines. But maybe that isn’t accurate. And maybe it isn’t how we are supposed to live life. Answer this: How many times have you lived this specific minute on this specific day? Only once! You may be doing it in a place you’ve been many times; surrounded by people you’ve known all your life. But you’ve never before lived this day in this place with these people in this specific set of circumstances. This is the first time you’ve ever lived this day, this moment! You’re in the midst of a “first time”!
I leave you with three challenges that I hope will aid you in learning to live all of life’s “firsts” with imagination and anticipation. I think they bring the fabric of heaven down to earth:
- Live on purpose. It is easy to misplace your purpose in the clutter of life. That’s good soil for cynicism. Rediscover that purpose and see the present moment and the people present in your life through that divinely-given purpose.
- Live in the moment. After all it’s the only moment you are guaranteed. It would be shame to waste it! Engage the present people and circumstances as a gift from God.
- Live for the line, not the dot. That is what steps #1 and #2 achieve in our lives. We live fully in the moment (the dot; now), but for the line (eternity). And that makes every moment “new,” every encounter a “first time.”