Happy Almost New Year

I am thank­ful that the “All I want for Christ­mas…” sea­son is over, but we are no firm­ly implant­ed in the “This year, I resolve to…” sea­son. These sea­sons are van­i­ty, though, both com­ing and going with­in a span eas­i­ly mea­sured in weeks. It’s just as well; the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple want noth­ing to do with Christ (He is the Light which reproves their evil deeds) but suf­fer Him (more and more grudg­ing­ly) for a time each year. Like­wise, the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple have a prob­lem with a lit­tle thing called pride. I know I cer­tain­ly do. And this pride is antag­o­nis­tic to per­son­al change, per­son­al growth. Why should we change? Every­one else are the ones with prob­lems, right?

I have chal­lenged Chris­tians here in the past to make Christ­mas a year round thing; to cease cel­e­brat­ing Christ is to cel­e­brate self and sin, a par­ty at which our Father does not tol­er­ate us mak­ing an appearance. 

It is a bit hard­er to tie in “New Years” into a year ’round Chris­t­ian activ­i­ty. I’m wise enough to know that God does not oper­ate using a Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar and I know He does­n’t buy into all the tra­di­tions that come along with the chang­ing of a calendar.

That New Year, how­ev­er, is a phe­nom­e­nal event for man. I applaud those who are able to take their res­o­lu­tions and make them part of their lives for as long as they live, but for far too many, the New Year mere­ly rep­re­sents anoth­er in a long string of “the begin­ning of next year” promises.

Dai­ly Bible read­ing? Next year…
Get in bet­ter shape (to serve the Lord bet­ter and with more vig­or)? Next year…
Reduce indul­gences? Next year…
Pray more often? Next year…
Cor­re­spond reg­u­lar­ly with those you don’t see often? Next year…
Be more faith­ful, watch less tele­vi­sion, evan­ge­lize more, write more, read more, and so on? Next year…

Friends, these things are too impor­tant to put off until next year, and when next year comes, it is all too easy to push it back to yet anoth­er next year.

The Bible says we ought to be renewed “day by day.”:”(2 Corinthi­ans 4:16)”: As I said, God is not oper­at­ing on a Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar. Regard­ing those things which are spir­i­tu­al, there’s no rea­son why we ought to either. The renew­ing of our mind is the oppo­site of con­for­mi­ty to the world.:”(Romans 12:2)”: and as com­men­ta­tor John Gill says, the renew­ing takes place by “attend­ing to the spir­i­tu­al exer­cis­es of reli­gion, as read­ing, med­i­ta­tion, prayer, con­fer­ence, the min­is­tra­tion of the word and ordinances.”

These things ought to fill the Chris­tian’s life, “day by day,” pre­vent­ing and undo­ing any and all con­for­mi­ty to this vain world. When we tie such impor­tance to the New Years, we take the trans­form­ing pow­er of a “day by day” rela­tion­ship with God and hope to trans­fer it to a cal­en­dar date. Remem­ber that in a cou­ple of days.

But per­haps you are read­ing this and you are not a Chris­t­ian. The things I have said prob­a­bly seem sil­ly to you, and that’s per­fect­ly fine. But of all the New Years res­o­lu­tions a per­son could make, none are as big as the change from being lost to saved, unfor­giv­en to for­giv­en, dead to alive. This too is some­thing that ought not to be put off until a New Year. The Bible says that today is the accept­ed time, the day of sal­va­tion.:”(2 Corinthi­ans 6:2)”: And as it has been asked before, “What must I do to be saved?”

Jesus Christ was giv­en by the Father so that those who believe in Him will not per­ish, but have ever­last­ing life. We have all sinned — you, me, and all of us — and the penal­ty, the wages of that sin is death. God’s holi­ness, His wrath demands it. He has, how­ev­er, elect­ed to save those who believe in His Son. For believ­ers, Jesus has bore all wrath, all pun­ish­ment, erad­i­cat­ing any evi­dence of it, so that when we stand before the Father our sin will not even be a mem­o­ry in any mind. All that will mat­ter is Jesus Christ, and on His mer­it will believ­ers enjoy eter­nal life in Heav­en forever.

Repent of your sins, turn from them and believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. All those who do so will not per­ish but will have ever­last­ing life.

8 thoughts on “Happy Almost New Year”

  1. Are you in Con­nersville? I’m a reformed Chris­t­ian who lives in Con­nersville and I’d like to get in touch! I’ve been pon­der­ing the whole thought of every day being Christ­mas for His dis­ci­ples late­ly and real­ly teach­ing my kids about it. Christ at the center…always.

  2. Rick,

    I am David’s broth­er (from the com­ment above). We grew up in Con­nersville. I cur­rent­ly am one of the pas­tors of a Reformed church in Bloom­ing­ton, but I am very inter­est­ed in see­ing a church plant­ed in Con­nersville. I am in town this week–why don’t we get togeth­er? Send me an email and I will give you my cell phone number.

  3. Yay! More Reformed brethren! That means more peo­ple that I can share my good news with!

    Guess what, guess what, guess what?!?!?

    “Spur­geon’s Ser­mons” are com­ing in the mail today! Yay! :D :D :D

  4. David & Stephen: I’ll shoot you both an email, if not here with­in a few min­utes, then after I get off work. (Lunch breaks go by oh-so-quick…)

    Edit: Okay, emails sent; off to work I go!

  5. Oh man, I wish I could pur­chase “The Works of John Owen”. But it’s $279, and that’s the sale price. So, I’ll have to save up some mon­ey for quite a while, and this is con­sid­er­ing I don’t pur­chase the oth­er prob­a­bly $100 worth of books that I would like/need.

    There we go, guys. I fig­ured out anoth­er New Year’s res­o­lu­tion: Earn lots of money. :)

  6. I have heard the def­i­n­i­tion of a “New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion” defined very aptly.

    It is sim­ply a promise you have no inten­tion of keep­ing. I don’t real­ly make res­o­lu­tions any­more. I used to all the time, but I NEVER fol­lowed through on them.

    I had some weird res­o­lu­tions though. One year I made a res­o­lu­tion to count how many times I ate piz­za that year. That did­n’t real­ly last very long.

  7. Hap­py New Year, all!

    Do I have any for­mal res­o­lu­tions? No, I don’t.

    How­ev­er, for sev­er­al hours lead­ing up to mid­night, I was read­ing from The Rad­i­cal Reformis­sion, a book advo­cat­ing a very rad­i­cal, very (dare I say) bib­li­cal and Jesus-cen­tric method of evan­ge­liz­ing, a method which in any church I have ever been in has nev­er been taught and in the major­i­ty of cas­es prob­a­bly would have been frowned upon at best.

    Mark Driscoll, the author, is thor­ough­ly chal­leng­ing my com­fort zones and my own per­son­al ideas of what it is to be a wit­ness for Jesus Christ.

    I don’t have any res­o­lu­tions, but God may well be push­ing me to some rad­i­cal changes in my life for His glo­ry and good pleasure.

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Rick Beckman