Sunday, January 5, 2020

Time and the New Year

January, 2020!  A new year.  Again.  A new year inevitably raises the question of what we will do with this new year that the Lord has given us.  The tradition of New Year’s Resolutions reflects this attitude for Christians and non-Christians alike.  Truly, time is a gift.

As usual, though, I am reluctant to embrace the New Year’s Resolution routine, and to be honest, I am not fond of To Do lists of any kind.  That said, time remains a gift, and the question of what we do with the time the Lord has given us remains.

I would suggest that a wonderful way to begin this new year is to focus on the One who is the Beginning and the End.  Our eternal Lord, who reigns over all and is not bound by time, has given us days, seasons, and years in a rhythm that sustains us, refreshes us, and propels us forward.  Our God is the God of new as well as old.  He is also the Lord of renewal.  As we come out of the busy and tiring holiday season and waken to chilly mornings, usually cloudy skies, and a new year, we need the renewal in this new year that only the Lord can give.

Please consider with me the following passages:

Lamentations 3:22-23—The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Psalm 51:10—Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Isaiah 40:31—Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 43:19—Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

Colossians 3:5-11—Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Psalm 33:3—Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Jeremiah 31:31—Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”

Isaiah 65:17—For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Ezekial 11:19—And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them.  And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.

Luke 22:20—And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

II Corinthians 5:17—Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

II Corinthians 3:4-5—Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Colossians 3:10—and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.

Hebrews 9:15—For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Romans 6:40—Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

II Peter 3:13—But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Revelation 21:1—Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.   And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:5--And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

First and foremost, our Lord is the Lord of all, and it is He who makes all things new.  As we walk (or run) into this new year, may we remember that it is the Lord who bestows upon us His mercies day by day.  It is He who cleanses, refreshes, and renews our hearts, transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh as we turn away from our sin.  All praise to our God!  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ initiated His new covenant with us by the shedding of His blood, so that in Him we are new, renewed, conformed to Him, and equipped to be His servants.  And as we walk in newness of life in Christ, may we walk in faith and in the confidence that the Lord is making us new even as He will make all things new.