The New of the Gospel
The main building in Pittsburgh in which RPTS is housed was formerly known as the Horne Mansion, constructed in 1898. Durbin Horne, who had the home built, was the son of Joseph Horne, the founder of a regional chain of department stores in Western Pennsylvania that bore his name. Located in Point Breeze on the eastern side of the city, this mansion has housed the seminary since 1923. RPTS now calls this building Rutherford Hall.
On the main floor of building are beautiful rooms used for classrooms, offices, and the library. All the floors in the rooms are covered in carpet which has become worn over time. Just this past week, we saw the plans to remove the carpets in two of the rooms and restore the hardwood floors underneath come to fruition.
One of those rooms was my office. Not only were the floors carpeted, but the carpet had been glued directly to them. So in order to get down to the wood, the workers first made two applications of stripper, scraping each time to remove the gooey glue, then they eventually were able to sand the floors. As you can see from the pictures, their expert, patient work was rewarded as the floors were transformed. Underneath the carpet, glue, and grime were gorgeous, warm oak floors. They just needed some strong measures taken to return them to their former glory.
As I witnessed these old floors becoming new, it reminded me of a truth of the gospel. In New Testament Greek, there are two different words for "new." One of them is neos, from which we derive our English word "new". Neos means "brand new", as in making something completely new. For instance, when new wine is spoken of, obviously that means the wine was recently made fresh from grapes. The other word for new in the Greek New Testament is kainos. This word means new in the sense of "restored new". If you take an old item and restore it to its former glory, that is kainos new.
Interestingly, the word used for the New in the title "New Testament" is the latter (kaine diatheke). So when Paul tells us that we are new creations in Christ, that the old has passed away and the new has come (1 Cor. 5:17), that is kainos new. In other words, when the Lord saves someone, He does not replace that person's sinful soul with a brand new, different soul. Rather, like what was done with those hardwood floors, He removes the old grit and grime of our sin, then restores us with His Spirit to the beauty of holiness in which we were originally created. Similarly, at the resurrection, He will not give each of us a new body in the sense of replacing the one we currently have. Instead, He will miraculously resurrect our present bodies from the dust and so revive them that they will no longer be mortal or corruptible.
So as I enjoy walking across and working on these beautifully restored floors, I am reminded of the work the Lord is doing in me and others to make all things new. Though sin sticks tenaciously to me like old, dirty carpet with its glue and grime, He is carefully, expertly, and with His tenacious love making me - and all my brothers and sisters - new.