Question: "What is the significance of Jesus saying, "Behold I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5)?"

Answer: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and He pronounced that everything was very good (Genesis 1:31). Yet mankind sinned, marring God’s creation. The world was “good” no longer. From Genesis 3 through Revelation 20, the earth and everyone in it experiences sin and death (Romans 5:12). Yet something will change after the great white throne judgment. After sin is eternally judged, God promises a new heaven and a new earth where suffering, pain, sin, and death cease for all eternity. This future creation gives believers hope and affects our lives on earth as we eagerly await for this promise to be fulfilled: “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5, NKJV).

In Revelation 21, John recounts seeing the new heaven and new earth. He sees a magnificent Holy City, where God dwells among His people. It is here that God promises to wipe every tear from His people’s eyes. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. Finally, all creation will be free from the reign and effects of sin. After observing all this, John sees Jesus seated on the throne declaring, “Behold I make all things new.” This new heaven and earth is what believers long for, along with all creation (see Romans 8:19).

When someone trusts in God for salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells him, and he becomes a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The believer is no longer bound by sin; we become new creations, able to please God and live in His ways. Galatians 2:20 sums up our newness well: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” No longer do we live for ourselves, but we live for the One who is life (John 1:3–4). A transformation occurs in those who surrender to God, and of them it can also be said, “Behold I make all things new.”

Becoming a new creation affects the way we live. God’s Word reminds us to put off our former, sinful ways of life (Ephesians 4:22–24, Colossians 3:9). Instead of living in sin and for ourselves, we are called to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10, ESV). Regeneration happens at the moment of salvation, but sanctification continues as we grow in faith and in His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). Some ways we grow are through studying God’s Word, praying, having fellowship with other believers, and suffering. “Behold I make all things new” is a statement that affects the way we live when we trust Christ for salvation.

“Behold I make all things new” is a truth anticipated from the beginning. When Adam and Eve sinned, God gave glimpses of this promise as He meted out judgment on sin and promised the Messiah (Genesis 3). The prophet Isaiah declares that salvation is found in God alone and that He will certainly judge sin, and he prophesies of the new heaven and new earth: “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered” (Isaiah 65:17). This sinful, depraved world is not God’s ultimate destiny for those who trust in Him, and we, like Paul, long for the time when God will “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).

Decay, destruction, death, and evil are all part of our lives on this earth. Even nature groans to be delivered from the curse (Romans 8:22). Yet Jesus’ declaration, “Behold I make all things new,” affords the hope that one day we will be free from the consequences and effects of sin and will live with Him in a new heaven and earth. This truth makes us live with eager expectation, seeking to know Him more, become more like Him, and make Him known. Our hopeful future is what changes how we live as we await Jesus’ making all things new.