“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and authority and power.” – 1 Corinthians 15:24
The end of history as we know it will coincide with the end of all evil as we know it. And after the end, a new beginning—a new history—will begin. Christ, the mighty Warrior King, will humbly deliver the Kingdom He established to His Father, and that Kingdom will be free from any ungodly rule, authority, or power. All that will exist in this kingdom will be true, and beautiful, and good.1
My tendency is to read passages like this and immediately apply Christ’s victory to all that I view as evil in the world: injustice, racism, corruption, pride, shame, abortion, sex-trafficking, pornography, greed, and demonic powers. And yes, the fact that all these atrocities will end is something to celebrate, and is certainly a part of what Paul intends to communicate here.
But while I am very quick to champion Christ’s victory over all that is evil in the world, I’m slow to realize that this also means He will conquer everything that is evil in me. The end of everything that ails us is both a global and individual reality. No longer will we be afflicted from the outside, and no longer will we be tortured from the inside.
Christ will put an end to all greed, all corruption, all pride, and all shame, which means He will put an end to our greed, our corruption, our pride, and our shame. The end of evil is not something that only happens out there but also in here. In the coming age, only the true, the beautiful, and the good will remain—and we’ll be there, right in the middle of it.
We will be true—no more lies or facades or charades. We will be fully known for who we are, not some polished up version of ourselves that we project to the world, but as purified versions of ourselves that He has put on display for His glory. With Christ’s righteousness as our own, we will be free from the temptation to cover our failures with fake accolades and man-made trophies. We will simply be able to be. And we won’t have to apologize for it.
We will be beautiful—no more ugliness or offensiveness or tarnished reputations. We will shine like the sun (Matthew 13:43), perfected and patterned after our Lord. In some strange way, we will be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Perhaps we will maintain some of the wounds we’ve gained in our service to God (John 20:27), but if so, they won’t take away from our beauty. They will serve as badges of honor, reminding ourselves and others of the goodness of God in turning our pain into something worth celebrating. And that’s beautiful.
And we will be good.
…we will be good.
No more rogue desires, empty self-righteousness, or spiritual apathy. We won’t feel the pain of letting Him down ever again. We won’t experience the tug of sin on our hearts, luring us away from enjoying the Lord. We won’t ever be unsure of God’s perception of us. The original divine declaration we received at our creation, and subsequently lost, will be restored to us. We will be separated completely from the sin that once separated us from God. We will live forever in perfect union with Him, face to face, and nothing will ever spoil it again.
Right now, on this side of history, we will have to fight for truth, beauty, and goodness. But the end of all evil means that we will not have to fight forever. There is a Victor coming who will vanquish every enemy we face and bring calm to our troubled souls. He will expose every lie and the truth will be cherished. He will undo all the ruin that our rebellion has brought to the world and ourselves, and beauty will be restored. And He will redeem our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls from the clutches of sin, setting us free from our bondage to evil, and we will be known before God as what we once were long ago, as very good. Right now we fight, but the end of all evil means we will no longer have to fight for anything ever again. We will only be able to receive, forever, the rest, sustenance, and joy that God intended for us from the very beginning.
The end of everything that plagues us is coming. Our enemies will be put in their proper place, but so will we.
That’s true. That’s beautiful. That’s good.
1 These are known as the “philosophical transcendentals”. Truth, beauty, and goodness are properties that are transcendent from any and every human experience, deriving their source and meaning from outside of ourselves. In Christian theology, these properties are understood to find their source in the Godhead, who is wholly transcendent, meaning He is completely independent of the physical universe we live in. But he is also wholly immanent, meaning He is fully present in our lives and our universe through the presence of the Holy Spirit. These transcendentals have crossed that transcendent/immanent domain in the person of Jesus Christ, who images them for us perfectly (truth: John 1:14; beauty: Isaiah 33:17; goodness: Acts 10:38). The end of all evil will result in (at the very least) these transcendental properties being more fully known and expressed through the display of God’s glory, which is why I’m focusing on them here.