Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Obligatory New Year's Post

It's the time of year to make the obligatory end-of-old-year, first-of-new-year-post. And I sort of went back and forth about what to post because frankly, you can go to a lot of different places to read about what resolutions you ought to make, what things you ought to focus on, etc. And I don't want to just rehash someone else's words. Instead, I thought I'd share something that has been rolling around my head for a couple days.
As we fly into this new year, you hear so many people talk about "a fresh start", or "a chance to start with a clean slate", etc. And I get what they're saying. But in reality, the new year offers none of that. When I woke up on the 1st, I had the same problems I had on the 31st. There was no magical slate wiping or any of that stuff. If you have any doubt about that, call your credit card company and see how clean the slate it.
Now I'm not saying all this to be Johnny Rain-Cloud or anything, but celebrating a new year has just brought back to mind that the only way to really get a fresh start, the only way to really start with a clean slate is to experience the redemption that God offers through Jesus. According to God's word, we need a fresh start. According to scripture, we need to have a clean slate. Problem is, we can't clean the slate. In fact, we don't even want to. We love our sin. We love to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, we love to be selfish and prideful and hateful and wicked. And that presents a major problem; God demands holiness while I embrace wickedness. And the end result of this tension is death; spiritual separation from God.
But here's what makes the Good News so stinking good; when I come to God in faith and repentance, I get a fresh start. I get my slate wiped clean. The Bible says that if I confess my sins to God, God is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins. And just to make sure we don't misunderstand, the Bible goes on to say that God cleanses us of all unrighteousness. That means that if it's bad, it goes. Ever sinful, wicked, unclean, bad, and immoral thing I've done has been wiped away. In fact, the Bible says that when a person is united with Christ through repentance and grace, that person becomes a new creation. Everything that defined them before Christ dies; everything is then remade, recreated in the image of God. That means that when God looks at me, He sees Jesus Christ. Now that's a thought that will melt your little noodle, isn't it? And that's a real fresh start. God has given me a 2nd chance; and a 3rd chance, a 4th chance-as many chances as I need. All my sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ; my heart of stone has been replaced with a heart of flesh. I was like Lazarus, dead in my sins. But when Jesus stood before me and called my name, I came to Him; though I had been dead in my sins, Jesus breathed the breath of eternal life in my nostrils. Life flowed into me; I was remade, recreated in the image of my King. And I was given a fresh start.
When you hear people talking about starting the new year off right, remember that only through Jesus can we start off this year or any year right. Only in Him can we have forgiveness of sin and be restored to a right relationship with the Father. This year, look to Jesus for your fresh start. Come to Him in faith and repentance; bow your knee to Him as Lord and Master and receive His mercy. And even more, receive a fresh start. Happy New Year.

Father, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You that though my sins are like scarlet, they can be white as snow. Thank You for provided a true fresh start for me. Help me to prove this new year, by my life, that I have been remade in Your image; that the old person has passed away, has been crucified with Christ, and that I've been raised to walk in newness of life with Jesus. Thank You for wiping all my sins away. Help my life to bring You glory and honor as I walk in obedience to You. Amen.

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