See, I will create new heavens and a new earth….[My people] will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit….They will not labor in vain. (Isaiah 65:17a, 21, 23a)
Yesterday, we saw the climax of Scripture in Revelation 21 in which heaven is finally revealed in its fullness on the New Earth. In today’s passage, Isaiah offers a parallel prophecy, adding one crucial detail. Isaiah says that when Christ returns to “make everything new” (Revelation 21:5), that will include our work.
This is the glorious conclusion to the biblical narrative of work we’ve sketched out over the last ten days. Here’s a quick recap.
God worked and created us to work before the Fall, meaning that the work of Adam and Eve was once perfect worship. But sin made work difficult and ensured that we would idolize work as a means of seeking to save ourselves. Because we couldn’t save ourselves, God sent Christ to earth to remind us of the goodness of work and save us apart from our works. That salvation leads us to want to be productive towards our Savior’s ends—namely restoring creation to its original design. But Christ alone will finish that work when he returns and establishes his eternal kingdom where, as Isaiah makes clear today, work will be perfect once again.
What does this mean for our work today? It means that we can grieve over frustrating work with hope, knowing that there is coming a day when work will be fully redeemed. It means that one day our everyday work will be more glorious than the best day’s work we’ve experienced in this life. It means that someday, work will be perfect worship again.