Skip to content

The End of the World as We Know It

My post on the Sola Panel today:

Today, millions of Christians across the globe will join together to celebrate the end of the world as we know it. I’m talking, of course, about Good Friday—the celebration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is an event of cosmic significance—an event in which the world as we know it came to an end and the new creation came into being.

Do you see it?

Jesus did. As Jesus was about to die, he started speaking about the end of the world—the sun and moon being blotted out, the stars falling from heaven, the coming of the Son of Man in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:24-27). In John’s Gospel, Jesus teaches that the event of his own crucifixion is the judgement of the world as we know it (John 12:31-33).

Paul saw it too. He believed that Jesus’ death was the reconciliation and renewal of the entire cosmos:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col 1:19-20 NIV)

It doesn’t necessarily feel like the world has ended, does it? The world as we know it is a world of death, sickness, bushfires, wars, struggles against deeply ingrained sin, pain, and frustration in our relationships and work. Where is this new world? In one very real sense, it’s in the future. There is a time at the end of history when this cosmic reconciliation will be fully revealed for all to see (1 Thess 4:16-17). Death will be reversed, and we will live with God forever. But the reason that we can be confident—that we can encourage one another with these words (1 Thess 4:18)—is because this future hope isn’t just a vague wish that God will do something in the future. It is, rather, a physical revelation of a reality already achieved in Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Thess 4:14).

Why? It’s because, of all those things that are wrong with our world (wars, abuse, sickness and even death), for those who trust in Jesus Christ, the most terrible, horrible aspect of that old world has been done away with. In Jesus’ death, God’s judgement on sin has come and gone. Jesus has taken the penalty for sin. And as we trust in Jesus through God’s Spirit, our own judgement is complete, done, over. His death for sins has, in the most fundamental sense, rescued us from the present evil age (Gal 1:3-4).

Physically, we still live in this unrighteous and death-bound world. Horrible things still happen. We still cry out for justice to be done. We still sin, we still need forgiveness, and we still struggle to live in trusting obedience to God. But our fundamental reality, by faith in Jesus Christ, is that we are already living in a new creation. We don’t look forward to a fearful expectation of the judgement to come. Instead, we look back—back to the new world that has come—the righteousness that is in Christ (1 Cor 1:30), the judgement on sin that he has already suffered, and the forgiveness that is thereby secure and complete. And we also look forward to that future where our salvation from God’s wrath will be fully revealed, where our physical natures will catch up to our spiritual reality, and where the new world in Christ will be seen for what it is. So now we cling to Christ and keep looking back to the end of the world.

Have a joyful Easter and a Great Friday.

Published inAtonementEschatologyPaul

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • The Named Jew and the Name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • Yes no“Paul within Judaism” and Romans 2:17–29
    My article on Romans 2:17–29 supports one key feature of the "Paul within Judaism" perspective, but undermines another common feature.
  • Photo by Engin Akyurt on UnsplashThe goals of Bible teaching (1 Timothy 1:1–11)
    In gospel ministry and Bible teaching, if you’re not committed to the right goal, or if you have the wrong goal, it’s not just a matter of being ineffective: you’ll be downright dangerous. So what is that goal? What are you seeking to achieve in your gospel ministry and Bible teaching - now and in the future? And how would you know if you’d done it right? This passage in 1 Timothy 1:1–11 speaks to this issue of the goals of ministry and teaching. It challenges us to think about our own aims in teaching, and to see how important it is to get it right. A sermon preached at Moore College Men's Chapel on 14 July, 2021.
  • Slow-burn crazy-making behaviours. Photo by Vadim Sadovski on UnsplashSlow-burn crazy-making behaviours: recognising and responding
    Do you know someone who seems to have drama and problems constantly appear around them? Whenever you relate to this person, perhaps you find yourself feeling vaguely guilty, or uncomfortable, or put down, or obligated to affirm them? Do you often feel like you’re questioning yourself and your actions because of what they say and do? You don’t feel the same way around other people; it’s just this individual who seems to attract these dramas and give rise to these feelings in you. If that’s the case, the chances are it’s not you who is the problem. It’s quite possible that the person you’re thinking of is exhibiting a pattern of behaviours that can be significantly detrimental to you and to others. This pattern of behaviours is hard to pin down; it doesn’t seem too serious in the short term, and indeed it might appear quite normal to a casual acquaintance. However, over the long term, it can cause serious problems for you and others. That’s especially true in close-knit communities, like families, churches and other Christian ministries.
  • Romans Crash CourseRomans Crash Course (video)
    A 75 minute video course in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans designed for church members and leaders.
  • The Mistranslation "Call Yourself a Jew" in Romans 2:17: A Mythbusting StoryThe mistranslation “call yourself a Jew”: A myth-busting story (Romans 2:17)
    This is a story about a scholarly myth and how I had the chance to bust it. I’m talking here about a small but significant 20th century biblical translation: “call yourself” instead of “are called” in Romans 2:17.
  • Breaking news: Religious Scandal in RomeThe named Jew and the name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29
    I've just had an article published in the journal Novum Testamentum. In it, I provide a detailed defense of my new reading of Romans 2:17–29. This passage is not primarily about Jewish salvation - rather it's primarily about Jewish teaching and God's glory.
  • Photo by Joseph d'Mello on UnsplashPreaching the Pastoral Epistles
    A one-hour audio seminar with principles and ideas for preaching the biblical books 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus ("Pastoral Epistles")
  • A Crash Course in Romans: Livestream
    Here's a <90 minute "Crash Course in Romans" I'm running on Monday evening 1 Feb 2021. It's aimed at leaders and any interested members of my church St Augustine's Neutral Bay and Church by the Bridge Kirribilli. Anyone is welcome to watch the livestream.
  • Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on UnsplashWhat’s wrong with the world? Is there hope? (Ephesians)
    Guilt, weakness, spiritual slavery, prejudice, arrogance, tribalism, conflict, war, victimhood, persecution, pain, suffering, futility, ignorance, lying, deceit, anger, theft, greed, pornography, sexual sin, darkness, fear, drunkenness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, workplace abuse, spiritual powers... In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says many things about the problems we face in this world. He also gives us wonderful reasons to find life, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Along the way, he provides practical teachings about how to respond and live together.
  • What does Ephesians say about reconciliation?
    We humans are not very good at living up close with others. This is especially true when we have a history of conflict with those others. Reconciliation isn't easy. No matter how much you might want healing, it’s hardly ever a matter of just everybody getting on and pretending the hurts didn’t happen. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says some very important, fundamental things about peace and reconciliation, and gives many other very practical teachings about how to live together in light of these truths.

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor