New Year, New Start, New Life

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (ESV)

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him Who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

New Years! Everyone starts the year off clean. The New Year can bring joy, peace, love, or the opposite of those things; sadness, strife, hatred. The choice is ours. This passage speaks of those who are in Christ being new creations. The old has gone, the new has come. When we are made new in the image of Christ, we are not confined to our old ways of living. We can do what is right.

A few years ago, quite a few actually, my wife and I were in a Biblical study program that trains people to be pastors in the denomination that created that program. Anyway, it was pointed out in this program that the change in Christ can be summarized in a simple statement: When we are dead in our sin, we cannot not sin. When we are born again in Christ, we can not sin. This speaks of our choice to sin or not.

This new year brings opportunity to all of us. Some people make New Years Resolutions, most of which last no longer than a few days, or a couple weeks for some. I propose rather than making New Years Resolutions, let’s all endeavor to live in accordance with the promises above. We CAN not sin. I suggest that we simply live for Christ, after all, He died in our sin, that we might live in His righteousness.

These are simple statements, but they are hard to follow through on. We need to start thinking before we act. I was told as a child to think before I acted. I am still fairly impulsive, so I have not learned that lesson very well. It is time to change. I will live up to God’s Law of love and mercy.

If I am a New Creation in Christ, I am God’s Righteousness. Jesus became sin, that I might be His Righteousness. New year, new start. That is my plan. What will you do with the New Year? Will you live in Christ’s righteousness?

by Virgil Stripes

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