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The Spirit’s Restoration
The Spirit’s Restoration (Redemption Applied): The Kingdom is Coming
God’s original mission for humanity and the world, inaugurated by the Father at creation, was temporarily thwarted by Satan and humanity’s sin at the Fall. But God graciously sent his Son to accomplish the redemption of fallen humanity and creation.
God also graciously sent his Spirit to apply the riches of Christ’s redemptive work to all things lost in the Fall in order to restore them to God’s original design. The good news is that the Holy Spirit’s transforming presence will one day fully restore fallen humanity and creation, freeing them from all the affects of sin at the coming of the new heaven and new earth.
The Way God’s Kingdom is Not Yet
When Jesus returns he will make all things new by the power of his Spirit, completely restoring all things that were lost because of sin. Not only will the natural world and the physical and biological world be made new but so will all aspects of God’s creative order that were broken by the Fall.
God’s ultimate purpose for the world is not merely the rebirth of human souls but the rebirth of all fallen creation. As is stated in the hymn Joy to the World, the fullness of God’s redemptive blessings in Christ will flow “as far as the curse is found.” This will include the full restoration of our relationship with God and the restoration of our relationships with ourselves and others as we carry out God’s purposes for the world he re-creates.
The Christian hope is not just that one day, when we die, we will go up to heaven and worship God forever. Our ultimate hope is in another day, when Jesus returns and brings heaven back down to earth.
Our hope is not merely life after death in heaven worshipping God for eternity as a disembodied soul, but life after heaven in a new heavens and a new earth where all our relationships will finally be made whole.
Therefore, our hope is not going back to a garden in Eden or up to heaven where our soul has no body. Instead, it is in going forward to the new earth that God promises will one day come down from heaven to earth as our final home.
God is at work leading his new community and creation to its final destiny of a new heavens and a new earth. Only then will God’s kingdom finally come in all its fullness and glory. Only then will the whole of human life and creation be fully redeemed and restored from sin and all its consequences.
In the meantime, as the new community, the Church, we press on against the powerful forces of evil that oppose God’s cosmic restoration project. And by participating in his redemptive mission we embrace the suffering that Jesus promised would be the experience of all who follow him in advancing God’s kingdom on earth.