Last Monday evening E4 launched their latest new show, The 100.
The plot to the show is relatively straight forward (so far).
Earth experienced some kind of radiation exposure which has forced human beings to live in space for the past 97 years. They have been living on a space station, but population levels have continued to rise and the space station is now at capacity. There are only a few months left before all of the resources and supplies are used up. As an experiment 100 criminals (mainly petty criminals and some, it seems, unjustly imprisoned) are sent back to earth to see if the radiation has lessened enough for humans to return to the earth’s surface.
The first episode sets this scene and gives a little glimpse of what the 100 are in for on earth’s surface.
The big idea seems to be the opportunity of a fresh start. As the criminals begin to realise they are on earth, and aren’t dying from radiation poisoning (yet), they begin to dream of a new start away from the space station and their old lives as convicts.
They experience the new hope of a fresh start.
If we are honest with ourselves, a fresh start is something each and every one of us has desired at one point or another in our lives. I think this is what attracted me to watch the first episode; perhaps it’s what attracted you to watch and all the other people who watched it with us. The reality is we have all wanted a fresh start at some point.
The reason a fresh start is so attractive to all of us is because often our lives are very messy. There are people we have hurt, there are people who have hurt us; things we should have done that we didn’t, and things we shouldn’t have done which we did. The Bible calls this messiness sin; we have sinned against others, others have sinned against us; the world is full of sin (Rom. 3:10-11; 23).
What’s worse is that sometimes when we try to do something to fix our mistakes, to make them better, to change the consequences to our actions we can just make it worse. Instead of fixing sin we often find ourselves piling sin on top of sin. We can often struggle to make it better.
The Bible does teach us that there is the possibility of a fresh start though. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul is explicit, ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’. Through conversion – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, our union with Jesus Christ – we are changed. We are made new, in other words we receive a fresh start. One of the great truths of Scripture is that in Christ we are a new creation. And as a new creation in Christ our hopelessness has been changed to a certain confidence in our God who has promised not only to make all things new, but also to fix many wrongs.
“But, my life hasn’t changed! There are still people who sin against me. I still sin against others, even when I don’t want to. The world is still full of sin. My fresh start in Jesus is just the same as a fresh start on my own.”
In many respects a fresh start with Jesus doesn’t change everything. We have a new nature, the old is gone, we are renewed by the Holy Spirit and desire righteousness. That much is true. However, we are still living in the flesh, with our sinful nature clinging on and battling against us. Paul’s famous words in Romans 7:15-20 describe perfectly the battle that every believer faces. In addition to this we still live in a world surrounded by sinful people who continue to indulge in sin which often affects us.
For these reasons our fresh start doesn’t always feel like a fresh start.
Our fresh start is different. Our fresh start has begun in Jesus, but our fresh start is not yet complete. Through Christ’s work and our consequent conversion we enjoy this fresh start that Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians. But this fresh start has only begun, and we will not enjoy it completely until Jesus returns again.
When Jesus comes again he will come in judgement condemning those who still revel in their sin. But, he will also take those of us who are new creations to be with him. He will take us to be with him in the new heaven and the new earth where there will be no sin, no tears, no death and no pain because the old things will have passed away and our new start will be complete (Rev. 21:1-4).
I do not know how The 100 will develop over the next few weeks or months – if you have read the book perhaps you already know. What I imagine will happen is that the fresh start on earth will not be all that the 100 hope and think it will be. As Christians we may fear that our fresh start in Christ is not all we hoped and thought it would be – but rest assured, one day our fresh start will be completed and all things will be new, right and beautiful.
Hunger for that day, because every fresh start this side of Jesus return is tainted with sin.