Why We Love New Beginnings

At the core of our being, we do not need New Year's resolutions--we need a "New Years Theology;" we need a theology of new creation.

We are frustrated that we repeatedly gave into particular sins, scarred our consciences, and grieved the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed. All of this remorse weighs heavily on our hearts–and it is right that it does. But is there no hope of restoration and renewal for us as we enter into a New Year? There is hope for us–and more than we could ever imagine–in the Gospel.

 

We all love new beginnings. When we enter a new year, most of us tend to think back on the past year–we look back at the accomplishments and failures and wonder if the forthcoming year will yield more progress and a better sense of achievement. When we make New Year’s resolutions, we are reacting to regrets that we have had over the past year’s activities and events. Usually, it is physical or financial failures with which we are most dismayed. It is not altogether wrong for us to have such regrets. There is something good about self-assessment and self-examination. But, more painful than admitting our lack of self-control in diet, exercise and spending is facing up to our lack of self-control and zeal in the realm of spiritual life and devotion.

We all feel the guilt and shame of our sin. We are dismayed by how little we gave ourselves to reading the Scriptures and to prayer. We know that we should have used our God-given gifts to build up His people in a much greater way than we did through the year. We recognize that we could have given more of our time and energy to care for those in our church and reach out with the Gospel to our  neighbors and co-workers. We admit that we could have opened our homes to those we don’t know well in our church and to our neighbors more than we did for the sake of the Gospel. We are frustrated that we repeatedly gave into particular sins, scarred our consciences, and grieved the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed. All of this remorse weighs heavily on our hearts–and it is right that it does. But is there no hope of restoration and renewal for us as we enter into a New Year? There is hope for us–and more than we could ever imagine–in the Gospel.

As we search the Scriptures we find the glorious truth that Jesus made us part of His new creation through His death and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:14). When Christ stepped out of the tomb, He did so as the first-fruits of the New Creation. His bodily resurrection guaranteed the spiritual (John 5:25) and bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) of all those united to Him–and secured the ultimate restoration of all things at the end of time (Acts 3:212 Peter 3:12-13). In His resurrection from the dead, Jesus redeemed our calendars. He forgave us all of our sin. He gave us power to die to self and live to righteousness this year and all the years of our lives.

In this sense, every day is New Year’s Day for the believer. All of this is unfolded for us in marvelous typological detail in the record of the Passover and the Exodus. God not only redeemed Israel from the bondage of Egypt–He realigned their calendar at the Exodus (Exodus 12:1) to give them an anticipation of the new creation that He would bring about through the  death of His Son–the true and greater Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:5).

It’s important for us to realize that the institution of the Passover occurred between the 9th  and the 10th plagues. God differentiated between His church and the world. He kept His plagues from falling on His people (Exodus 9:411:7). However, when God pronounced the 10th and most severe plague, He did not differentiate between the church and the world. Members of the Old Covenant church were, thereby, shown that they deserved judgment as much as the Egyptians. We all deserve judgment for our sin and rebellion against God. Our failures are not merely imperfections in our goals or character. They are acts of rebellion against the infinitely holy God who made us. In the tenth plague, God taught Israel that all men–Jew and Gentile–deserve judgment.

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